Four Presidential Candidate Finalists to Visit UCA

The search for UCA President Tom Courtway’s replacement has been narrowed down to four finalists, all of whom will visit campus from Oct. 24-27.

Len Frey, Arkansas State University – Jonesboro’s vice chancellor for finance and administration, came to UCA Monday and Tuesday. Houston Davis, interim president of Kennesaw State University in Roswell, Georgia is scheduled to visit campus Tuesday and Wednesday.

Darrell Parker, dean and professor of economics at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina, will come to UCA on Wednesday and Thursday. Nagi Naganathan, dean and professor of engineering at the University of Toledo in Ohio, will interact with UCA students, staff and faculty on Thursday and Friday.

Each presidential candidate has a full schedule during his time in Conway. The finalists’ first days begin with a morning meeting with Courtway and UCA staff. After that, each one will meet with the school’s academic deans and department chairs, the Faculty Senate, the Student Government Association and the UCA Board of Trustees.

Each one will also deliver his own campus address in the McCastlain Ballroom, and they will all end their days with dinner at Courtway’s house. On the second day, they’ll attend a community reception and tour UCA’s campus and Conway. Complete schedules of the finalists’ visits and their curriculum vitae are available on UCA’s website.

Frey, the first finalist to come to UCA, said he applied for the position because the university needed someone with a financial background as well as an academic and student-oriented background.

“I am very excited about the possibility of coming to the University of Central Arkansas because it has a very outstanding reputation among the state and the southern region,” Frey said.

Chairperson of the UCA Board of Trustees Shelia Vaught said the board really doesn’t know Frey and that board members can’t yet say what they think of him.

“We really are not going to say how we feel about [Frey] or any of the other candidates until we interview all of them,” Vaught said.   

“The reason why [Frey] was chosen as one of the four was because of his vision for the university,” Vaught said.

Frey said the university has a goal of being a national provident university and he wants to be able to help the university achieve the goal it sets.

Frey said that if he is chosen as president, the students of UCA will be his priority.

Should the board of trustees select one of these four finalists, the months-long search for UCA’s new president will soon be over. According to the presidential search timeline, the school hopes to name the new president in November.

The search began in March, when the board appointed a President Search Advisory Committee and the committee selected Parker Executive Search to assist in finding a new president.

In the following months, UCA officials and members of the search committee determined qualifications for the position and put out advertisements for the job.

Earlier this month, the advisory committee interviewed eight semifinalists in Dallas. Frey, Davis, Parker and Naganathan were the final four asked to come to campus interviews.

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