The Citadel has a new school president

This is not breaking news, to be sure, but The Citadel has announced that General Glenn M. Walters, the current Assistant Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, has been selected by the school’s Board of Visitors to become the school’s new president. Walters has to retire from active duty first; therefore, an interim president will be selected by the BOV later this month.

I suspect that most people reading this post are already familiar with the basic facts about Gen. Walters. If not, a few links of interest:

According to Wikipedia, Walters is originally from Charleston. Curiously, there is very little available information about his background before he went to college; I couldn’t find out where he went to high school, for example.

He is a 1979 graduate of The Citadel and apparently was in Charlie Company as a cadet, so at the very least Walters is an alumnus of the top battalion on campus.

I have no idea what to expect from him as a school president. Then again, when you come right down to it, nobody really does.

The general’s military résumé is exemplary, but obviously The Citadel is not just about overseeing a military operation. It isn’t just about running a university, either, which is why it is difficult to determine in advance if an individual has the skill set needed to successfully lead the institution.

That said, Walters had some promising things to say when he was hosted on campus as part of the search for a new president. He was the last of the four finalists for the position to do so (interviewing on April 4).

While at The Citadel, each of the candidates met with the BOV, lunched with top-ranked cadets, and held a 40-minute session with the faculty and staff.

The discussion with the faculty and staff for each of the finalists was nicely summarized by The Brigadier. It makes for interesting reading. Kudos to that publication.

Here are a few excerpts from the summary of Walters’ comments that I think are worth highlighting:

The Marine Corps University, was funded by Other People’s Money, or “OPM”, and [Walters] was responsible in part for its establishment…When the Secretary of the Navy found out about Gen. Walters interview at Citadel, he asked: “If you get the job, could The Citadel do this kind of research?” to which Gen. Walters responded, “I’ll ask”.

As it pertains to Strategic Partnerships and Opportunities, Gen. Walters made it clear that he wanted to know how to expand, especially with cyber and non-military opportunities.

Government and corporate partnerships are key at a school like The Citadel, as is fundraising in general. It is a major part of the school president’s job. A member of the faculty asked Walters about that:

When a faculty member asked how fundraising fit in the leadership package, Gen. Walters replied: “I need to learn and understand. Apparently we are doing well. Is it enough to get us where we need to go? I don’t know; I haven’t done that math. We need to get resources above Operation cost, then look at retention. Part of my sacred duty is to make sure that the resources are provided”.

Walters’ ability to raise money for the school may well define his presidency. That is the reality of college administration in the 21st century.

The general also touched on the importance of having people from varied backgrounds (with implications for student recruiting):

Gen. Walters highlighted the need to recruit, and to “have diversity at the highest levels”. His staff is made up of 5 officers; 3 are female. In order increase output of recruits, Gen. Walters moved to work with African-American Societies, telling his recruiters: “Go out to minority and female communities and tell them “yes this is something you can do”. He said that 3,600 people were recruited into the USMC, and 37% were minorities. He went on to tell a story about a female Lieutenant who came to him concerned about meeting the bi-annual command/career retention board because she was pregnant during a large portion of that time. He immediately had the policy changed to allow her to wait until she was at 24 months of actual service time before she went before the board. Gen. Walters got funding for mobile flight simulators, which actually visited the Citadel earlier this semester, at $600,000 a piece; 5 each for each district. Then he ordered them to put one at every female athletic event and to black colleges to say: “Come with us”.

Per the school website, statistics for the current student body are as follows:

  • Male: 91.4%
  • Female: 8.6%
  • Caucasian: 75%
  • Ethnic Minority: 25%

I believe that the student body should be more ethnically diverse, and that the number of female cadets at The Citadel needs to increase by a considerable amount. Both of those objectives need to be accomplished while maintaining the highest standards for new students, which makes recruitment in those areas all the more important. Walters’ comments are very much on point, in my opinion.

Someone asked about the importance of athletics. Check out this response from Walters, and especially the reveal at the end, one which would have pleased O. Henry:

A new addition to The Citadel’s faculty asked how important athletics would be to his vision. Gen. Walters immediately referenced the Corps’ Fitness pillar, the cohesion in corps, and the pleasure the alumni get with every win. He also said: “Sports teach leadership. Athletics taught us [USMC] where to go to get recruits. We went to Title 9 areas. Women’s volleyball makes great leaders.” He talked about teamwork and why we focus on cultural issues: “If we went to Korea and we weren’t a team, and we didn’t have dignity and respect for each other, we would lose”. He asked the new faculty member what her job was, and ironically, she replied that she was the Women’s Volleyball Coach. The room erupted in laughter, awe, and applause.

Side note: I’m not sure who the individual in question is who asked the question. The Citadel recently hired Dave Zelenock as its new volleyball coach. I’m guessing she may be a new assistant (if so, she hasn’t been listed on the school’s staff directory yet).

Presumably, one of the first things Walters will do as The Citadel’s president will be to hire a new director of athletics. That is just one reason it would be best if he begins his new job sooner rather than later.

I hope the general likes sports. I really hope he also likes winning…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: