Status of Dan Eck’s Interim Presidency

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Callah Kraus

Dan Eck in his office.

Leah Ulatowski, Copy Editor

The Lakeland College presidency has been a hot topic since the sudden resignation of former president Michael A. Grandillo last fall and the implementation of interim president Dan Eck. The start of a new school year has reignited questions of whether or not the board of trustees was able to meet over the summer and come to a more definite decision concerning the presidency.

“The short answer is no,” Eck said. “We’ve had a lot of discussions with the board on various things over the summer and it is still the same situation. We are not doing a search this fall and we are moving forward.”

Eck stated that the last formal board meeting was in May and none took place over the summer. The next will not take place until the end of October.

“I’m sure the subject will be discussed, but it is still early in the process,” Eck said.

Eck explains that there is no set time as to when his interim status must end. He noted that it is not unusual for colleges to have interim presidents for even a year or two.

“Part of the reason we are doing this interim position is to see if in fact I would like to be the president,” Eck said. “Last spring I had accepted a job at another non-profit organization, but I came back because I felt like I could help. I was thrilled to come back because I love it here. I think it would be a little disingenuous to say I wasn’t interested in the full time position.

“It is definitely something I would be interested in, but I’m not pushing it right now. It doesn’t seem right to chase it when it’s an interim thing. Would I apply if they opened up a job search? It would depend on the context, such as if they went through a full blown search or not. It is hard to predict that far ahead, but it is something I could see myself doing.”

According to Board of Trustees Chairperson Robert Melzer, there were numerous discussions between board members this summer and the subject of Lakeland’s presidency was addressed on numerous occasions. The discussions, however, focused on assessing how things are going on campus and how well Eck is performing.

Melzer said there is no set time on how long Eck will remain interim president and that the board of trustees had a number of pressing matters to address over the summer.

“There were many new things happening with higher education in our nation. We also had a number of high level staff positions to fill on campus, such as the head of IT,” Melzer said. “We cannot rank the presidency as less or more important than other situations.”

In response as to whether Eck would be the board’s first choice for the permanent position, Melzer said, “There is no real ranking. We do not have anyone to compare Eck to right now. Of course, we would consider all internal candidates, but in the end we must consider who would be the best onsite leader of the school.

“It is a work in progress. We are not oblivious to the big picture or the little picture or the Lakeland picture. Eck has done a great job filling in during an unusual situation and has a steady hand in carrying out our plans for the college.

“After some time, we will look at the big picture and see who best fits the needs of the school.”