]Piedmont University Board of Trustees Chairman Gus Arrendale has named Habersham County native Barbara Strain to lead the search for a new president for the Demorest-based institution.
Current President James F. Mellichamp announced Monday he would retire once a permanent replacement for him is found.
Strain is a lifelong Habersham County resident and a longtime supporter of the university and joined the Board of Trustees earlier this year.
“I am honored that Chairman Arrendale appointed me to serve in this role of bringing a new chapter to Piedmont University – and our community,” Strain said in a statement. “I am committed to a prompt, collaborative, transparent search that will result in the selection of our ideal next president.”
Strain began forming the search committee Monday afternoon, shortly after Mellichamp’s announcement. The committee will include representatives from the faculty, staff, administration, alumni, student body, and community at large.
“In addition to recruiting a diverse cross-section of the university community to serve on the committee, we’re also going to build in numerous opportunities for our various constituents to have their voices heard throughout the search process,” Strain said. “We will be conducting surveys and listening sessions to gather input on the characteristics and qualifications Piedmont needs in its next president.”
Strain said she has retained legal counsel to ensure the search process is conducted in accordance with all applicable laws and university policies and procedures. To keep university constituents updated throughout the process, a Presidential Search section has been added to piedmont.edu, where regular updates will be posted.
“This is an exciting time for Piedmont University, as we mark the end of President Mellichamp’s leadership and prepare to welcome his successor,” Strain said. “It is vital that we hire a president who can continue Piedmont’s growth and success. To identify the ideal next president, we all need to get involved. I encourage everyone with a stake in Piedmont to check the website regularly. As we move forward with the search process, share your opinions on what we need in our next president. We must do this together.”