Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Diverse Conversations: The Spirit of a Trailblazer - Higher Education

Diverse Conversations: The Spirit of a Trailblazer - Higher Education: Blazing a trail is no easy feat, especially as a minority female breaking into the presidential club in higher education, a traditionally male-dominated arena. Just ask Dr. Pamela Gunter-Smith, who, this summer, became the fourth president of York College of Pennsylvania and stands as the first female and first African-American president of the college.

Recently, I sat down with Gunter-Smith to talk about her newest challenge in leading York College and the past trailblazing efforts that brought her there.

Q: What thoughts were running through your mind when you got the offer from York College of Pennsylvania to serve as its president?

A: I was in an airport when I got the call from the board chair. I thought things had gone well, but I had expected the “nice to meet you, but we decided to go with a different candidate” call. I was thrilled when I was asked, “How would you like to be President G-S?” I believe that committees seek to generate a diverse pool of qualified candidates, but then they find that the “fit” isn’t right. York College is a wonderful institution, and I was, and am still, very honored to have been selected.