LU President Evans finalist for SIU Carbondale chancellor

bench-dedication-n.evans
LU President Kenneth Evans at an event dedicating a bench to his wife, former LU First Lady, Nancy Evans. UP file photo

LU President Kenneth Evans was announced as a finalist for the chancellor position at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, on April 10.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale is expected to hold virtual interviews with Evans and the two other candidates, Susan Stapleton, special assistant to the provost at Western Michigan University, and Austin Lane, former president of Texas Southern University.

“(Evans’) love for LU and the Southeast Texas community is great yet challenging since the loss of his wife, Nancy, in 2018,” Shelly Vitanza, LU director of public relations, said. “SIU is located closer to Evans’ son, Paul, and grandchildren and would allow him to visit more regularly with his family.

Dan Mahony, SIU system president, said in a SIU Carbondale press release that the entire interview process will be conducted remotely due to COVID-19.

Evans will have a public forum on Zoom from 9 to 10 a.m. on April 23 as a part of the interview process, according to the press release.

“Our goal is to use technological tools to engage as many people in the interview process at possible,” Marc Morris, chair of the search screening committee and director of the university’s School of Accountancy, said. “We want to be sure students, faculty, staff and others have an opportunity to engage with and hear from the candidates.”

More information on each candidate is available at chancellor.siu.edu/search. Information about accessing the open forums at least two days before the forums will also be available on the site. There will also be an online form where confidential feedback on each candidate can be provided.

Evans has served as the 15th president of Lamar University since July 2013 and has overseen several campus renovations and regional disasters that have impacted the students, faculty and staff, such as Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Tropical Storm Imelda and the TPC plant explosion in 2019, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that caused classes to move completely online throughout the summer of 2020.

“Since joining LU almost seven years ago, Evans has focused on improving faculty quality in research and teaching, design and implementation of new programming and recruitment and retention needs,” Vitanza said. “He has created a more collegiate atmosphere at LU, overseeing major renovations of the Setzer Student Center, the Quadrangle and the construction of the 85,000 sq. ft. Science and Technology Building. Evans has established partnerships with the community, business leaders and other key stakeholders bringing prominence to the university and pride to its students and alumni.”

SIU Carbondale looks to appoint a new chancellor by July 1, Mahony said.

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