The Chairman of the Knox College Board of Trustees says that he doesn't plan on recommending a search begin immediately to replace President Rich Millman who resigned unexpectedly June 1st.
Roger Taylor (Knox '63), is an attorney who lives in Ellisville in rural Fulton County and is of counsel to the law firm Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago. The executive committee of the Board will meet Friday to discuss their next step and Taylor says, ''I have recommended to the board that we not do a national search at this time but quickly find an interim president.''
Despite reports that Millman was pressured into stepping down, Taylor reaffirmed the statement in the school's official press release on Millman's departure: ''Rich Millman was not asked to resign. He made his decision for his own reasons. He intends to return to teaching.''
With the resignation effective September 1st, Taylor acknowledges that some Board members, himself included, might be forced to take greater involvement in managing the college, ''I expect that until we have an interim president, I will be more active and lend a hand where I can be useful.''
While there have been some indications in the past that the College's financial situation is not particularly rosy, Taylor would not relate that to Millman's resignation nor confirm that changes will be made in admissions policy to limit scholarship expenses. ''There has been no proposal to change our need-blind admission policy. I cannot say that administrative costs are too high. As you probably know, Knox employees work very hard and do an outstanding job -- especially given the college's relatively small endowment. The board has asked the administration and faculty to take a hard look at the college's programs this summer to see if there are changes that we should consider. We also intend to press forward on fund-raising and getting the word out to prospective students and their parents what a great school Knox College is.''
''My personal goal is to get all of us -- including alumni like you -- to brag more about our great college. In the Class of 2001 alone, five students were awarded highly competitive, nationally prestigious fellowships. We had 173 students this year at Knox with overseas learning experiences. We had 25 percent of the students engaged in intercollegiate athletics. I'll bet there is not a college like Knox anywhere in America that can match that record of achievement. Our faculty and staff do an incredible job. The entire board is very grateful for their dedication and achievements.''
The executive committee will decide Friday whether to follow Taylor's advice and select an interim president quickly. Names that have been mentioned include Taylor himself, former University of Illinois Chancellor Morton Weir (who was the interim president during the last search) and former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta.
The job of finding a new, permanent president could take some time. According to one Knox faculty member, the trend of college presidents returning to teaching is national. ''Exhaustion is a common note in other presidential resignations; college presidents have been asked to do more and more (mostly fund-raising but also crisis management) in more compressed time frames.''