The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

April 10, 2014


— At its Founder’s Day celebration in February, Concord University proclaimed that 2014 would be “The Year of the Renaissance” at its campus in Athens.

“This year, we will also recognize the contributions and importance of the surrounding communities that aid us in our efforts to educate and prepare citizens to deal with complexity, diversity, and change in the world today,” Dr. Kendra Boggess, the school’s interim president, told the audience of several hundred people.

Since its founding in 1872, Concord University has certainly contributed in important ways to the communities that surround it in southern West Virginia, turning out academically rounded, fully-fledged graduates who continue to make a positive impact in our business community and in our social and cultural lives as well.

This week is an important one in Concord’s Renaissance Year, as the three candidates for its new president meet with students, faculty and staff on the campus so each can get a feel for the university and vice-versa.

Dr. Boggess met with assorted groups earlier this week. She holds an associate degree from St. Petersburg Junior College, a bachelor’s degree in business education from the University of Florida, a master’s degree in vocational technical education from Virginia Tech, and a Ph.D. in business education with a cognate in business management from Virginia Tech.

The second finalist for the presidential post is Dr. J. Mark Estepp, president of Southwest Virginia Community College in Richlands, Va. Dr. Estepp holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts education from Berea College, a master’s degree in industrial arts education from Murray State University, and a Ph.D. in practical arts — concentration in higher education leadership — from the University of Missouri.

The third finalist, who meets with campus groups Friday, is Dr. Steve Condon, president of Laurel University in High Point, N.C. Dr. Condon received a bachelor’s degree in education from Boston State College, a master’s degree in education from Florida State University, and a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Mississippi. He has also done post-doctoral work at Harvard University.

A final decision on who Concord selects, and a better idea of its path in this Renaissance Year and beyond, is expected later this spring.

But we thought it important to note how impressed we are with the quality of the three finalist candidates for the position of president. It is testimony to what Concord University has accomplished in its century-plus history of academic excellence, and the high regard in which the university is held across the region and beyond.

We’re certain that whoever the Concord Board of Governors selects from among these candidates, the university will continue to be a driving academic, cultural and economic force in southern West Virginia.