26 Apr Bishop Whipple on the New President and the Process
“Dr. Emberton will be a very good president for us,” Bishop Phil Whipple said about Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, the next president of Huntington University.
“She’s down to earth, and puts people at ease. I think she will relate to anyone in our churches. And yet, she has the pedigree in education that will be a great attraction to faculty.”
Bishop Whipple was part of the 14-member Presidential Advisory Task Force which conducted most of the search process. The group included nine Board of Trustees members and five faculty or staff of the university. One other United Brethren minister was part of that group: Gary Dilley, senior pastor of College Park UB church in Huntington, Ind. Former bishop Paul Hirschy coordinated prayer efforts for the process.
They hired Carter-Baldwin Executive Search, a firm which has helped fill positions at other Christian colleges as well as at major corporations. The managing partner, Price Harding, spearheaded the search efforts.
“Price Harding did a remarkable job,” said Bishop Whipple. “He’s a first-class Christian gentlemen who led us well in the whole search process. It made it easy for the team to wade through a lot of information.
“We ended up actually looking at 28 of the resumes that came in. We whittled them down to ten persons. Price Harding had face-to-face conversations with those ten persons and sent us his notes. With that information, we got it down to four persons.”
The task force members spent two days in Indianapolis interviewing the four finalists, two persons each day.
“I was really wowed by Dr. Emberton in Indianapolis,” said Bishop Whipple. “We saw two people the first day, and she stood out—and continued to stand out—as a star. She speaks with a lot of confidence, and has clear leadership gifts. I wondered how I would feel about her when I saw her again, but there was no change. She was the same kind of person I saw in Indianapolis.
“I liked the other candidates, but I really had a sense that God was orchestrating something unique and special with what she brings to the table. She’s currently in a denominational school and sees value in that. She is excited about becoming part of the United Brethren church.”
Those 14 persons did an initial vote, and 13 of them identified Dr. Emberton as their first choice. The other person listed her second, but was perfectly willing to go along with the group. So when the advisory task force gave their final vote, it was unanimous.
And when the Board of Trustees voted on April 26, it, too, was unanimous.