EVANSVILLE — Ronald Rochon is University of Southern Indiana's new president.
The public university's board of trustees approved his promotion Thursday. Rochon is the provost at USI. He was first hired in 2010.
USI trustees chair Harold Calloway has led the nationwide hunt for a new leader with help from the university's presidential search committee and a hired outside executive search firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates.
Current USI President Linda Bennett announced in August her plan to retire June 30. Bennett will leave after serving nine years as the first and, to-date only, female president.
Bennett turned 65 in December, and she said it was a “good time to think about the next chapter.”
“I hope you have, in your career, the kind of feeling of fulfillment and joy when you leave your position, when you retire, that I feel. … I hope you have that. It’s a good feeling,” she said during her announcement.
USI hasn't been alone in the pursuit of a new president.
Current University of Evansville President Thomas Kazee also announced last summer his plan to retire as UE’s 23rd president on May 31. Kazee, 65, said after one more school year, it’s time to “move on to whatever life brings us next.”
Last month UE officials announced Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz as the 24th president of the university. Pietruszkiewicz (petra- skev -ich) is currently the dean of the Stetson University College of Law and a former Louisiana State University faculty member and administrator. He will officially take the role July 1.
Search committees were formed at both universities and outside executive search firms were hired to lead nationwide pursuits for new leaders.
Since then presidential search processes at both institutions have been quiet. Officials at both the public and private institutions have stayed silent on specifics, particularly about the number of applicants and who applied for the position. Search committee leaders at both institutions said officials decided to keep the process confidential to get the best candidates for the job.
Despite the process being more open at both USI and UE when Bennett and Kazee were hired about a decade ago, state law seems to favor the move. Stephen Key, Hoosier State Press Association executive director and general counsel, said officials can "pretty well keep it confidential."