Wright State University’s next president didn’t know herself she’d be appointed the school’s next leader over the weekend.
In an interview with the Dayton Daily News, Sue Edwards said the decision came as a “surprise.”
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Edwards said she thought the university’s board of trustees would use the remainder of the year to decide how they would fill the job. Outgoing president Cheryl Schrader announced earlier this month that she plans to step down Dec. 31.
But, trustees convened Saturday for an executive session, after which they voted to name Edwards as Schrader’s successor.
“I was called to a meeting on Saturday morning and I guess they decided what they were looking for,” Edwards said.
Edwards will officially become Wright State’s eighth president Jan. 1, but trustees have yet to sign off on a contract, spokesman Seth Bauguess said.
Edwards joked that she was feeling a little “dazed and confused,” at how fast trustees moved to hire her. One likely factor in the timing, she said, was wanting to build momentum and keep WSU on track.
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Edwards, currently the university’s provost, will become president at the end of a tumultuous few years for Wright State.
A 20-day faculty strike concluded in February and the university is still attempting to find its financial footing, though it has had some success recently.
Wright State has doubled its cash reserves over the last two years, increasing them from around $31 million in 2017 to more than $60 million as of this fall. The university’s financial trouble was the result of six years of overspending from 2012 through 2017.
Wright State’s enrollment also declined in recent years and this fall reached a more than 37-year low. Around 13,742 students are enrolled at Wright State , around a 11.7 percent decline from last year.
Boosting enrollment and further stabilizing the school’s finances will be among several things on Edwards’ to do list as president, she said.
“My philosophy is that we just have to continue to move this university forward,” Edwards said. “It’s got too much going for to allow it to wane.”
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