Glassman begins Eastern presidency


File Photo

David Glassman, incoming Eastern president, speaks about budget and staffing during a faculty and staff interview session on Jan. 23 in the Arcola-Tuscola room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Stephanie Markham, Editor-in-Chief

Incoming Eastern President David Glassman will have his first official day on the job Monday.

Anyone walking past Old Main would have seen an empty seat through the first-floor office windows for the past two weeks, as former President Bill Perry’s last day was May 15.

Meanwhile, Blair Lord, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, has served as acting president for the university.

Perry was on campus periodically during that time, with Lord stepping in to fulfill presidential duties as needed.

However, Perry left Charleston to be with family in Texas on Friday, making way for Glassman to step in as Eastern’s 11th sitting president.

Judy Gorrell, the secretary in the president’s office, said Glassman will be the fifth president she has worked for.

She began as secretary in 1993 when David Jorns was in office and has seen presidents Carol Surles, Louis Hencken and Perry carry out their terms.

Gorrell said each president brings their own skillset and has a unique experience; for example, Hencken already knew the campus when he started and Surles had been president at another university.

“The only thing I can ever be sure of is change, and they’re all different and they all should be different,” Gorrell said.

Gorrell said what stood out to her about Perry were his “top notch” relationship skills and his vision for the university.

She said summer sessions are generally quieter at Eastern, which will give Glassman the opportunity to get acclimated to campus and meet with constituents before fall begins.

“I think probably as far as the first few weeks are concerned, Dr. Glassman will just be getting started and sort of learning the campus culture and be out in the campus community getting settled in,” she said.

She said Glassman has been in communication with people at Eastern, though he has not physically been on campus much because he has been finishing up his work as vice president for academic affairs at Bradley University.

“He’s had lots to do up there, so when we get him (Monday) we’ll probably have his undivided attention,” she said.

Gorrell said everything has run smoothly in the past two weeks with Lord in charge of the campus in the absence of a president.

“We have someone to contact if we have issues, someone who is overseeing the campus,” she said. “And so that hasn’t been much different than if we had someone here.”

Some things Lord said he did as acting president include meeting with state legislators and signing paperwork that requires a presidential signature.

Lord functioned as acting president during a meeting with the four-year public university presidents and state leaders like the governor’s chief of staff and the secretary of education.

“We didn’t tell them anything they hadn’t already heard, but we the presidents wanted to make it clear that higher education is in this thing together, and we’re going to be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” Lord said.

He said he has also given advice to legislative liaison Katie Anselment on how to approach things in Springfield.

Lord said Surles was president when he was first hired, though he has only directly worked with Hencken and Perry.

“I’m quite sure Dr. Glassman will come in with his own set of things he wants to do and ways he wants to interact with us and how he wants us to function as a team,” Lord said. “But the president is still the president at the end of the day. It’s up to the vice presidents to figure out how to support him.”

Both Lord and Gorrell agreed that Glassman seems to have a lot of energy to bring to Eastern.

“I think he’s going to just fit in fine,” Gorrell said. “I think he’s going to be a good fit for the university.”


Stephanie Markham can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].