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Message from Board Chair

Message from Agnes Scott Board Chair

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dear Members of the Agnes Scott Community, 

By now you have read or heard about President Elizabeth Kiss' announcement that she will conclude her service to the college at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year. Agnes Scott is a better place today because of her extraordinary vision and unwavering commitment to the college's mission of educating women to be strong leaders in a global society.
Elizabeth's innovative leadership has not only contributed to the implementation of SUMMIT, but to other lasting initiatives including enrollment growth; new interdisciplinary majors and minors; sustainability; and diversity, inclusion and a living wage. She has strengthened this college's infrastructure, raising $115.9 million in The Greatness Before Us campaign, completing construction of the Julia Thompson Smith Chapel and renovating the Alumnae House, Campbell Hall and now Rebekah Scott Hall. Thanks to her successful tenure over the past 11 years, we are ideally poised to engage in the search for Agnes Scott's next president.
In consultation with the Board of Trustees, I am taking the important next steps in planning the process for a search for her successor. Trustees Deborah Harris Painter ’75 and Elizabeth H. Noe ’86 have agreed to co-chair the search committee. Deb and Elizabeth were each elected to the board in 2014 and bring a deep understanding of the important priorities of the college and the work ahead for the search committee through their roles as chairs of two critical committees of the board: Academic Affairs and Governance, respectively. This is a significant responsibility and time commitment, and I thank them for their dedication and leadership.
In the coming weeks, we will be consulting with faculty and staff leadership and will move forward to appoint a search committee to include faculty, staff and students. The board has approved and we have retained the highly regarded national executive search firm Witt/Kieffer to develop a talented pool of candidates and guide us through a thoughtful and effective search process. Helping to coordinate the search from Agnes Scott will be Lea Ann Hudson ’76, associate vice president and secretary of the board.
As we invite people to join the search committee, we will be looking for members who will be able to dedicate the time and thoughtful consideration required of this important process. We expect to appoint a committee that will reflect the diversity of experiences, backgrounds and perspectives we seek to identify in a pool of top candidates. We will be attending to our collective priority of creating an environment of trust and respect, one in which a variety of perspectives may not only be present, but will be heard. At the same time, a clear commitment to our shared institutional values and the current and future success of Agnes Scott will be paramount. Of course, members of the search committee will be expected to maintain an appropriate balance of confidentiality regarding the search and transparency about the search process.
Once the members of the search committee have been appointed, the committee will meet on campus with our search consultants in mid-June to discuss the search process and methodology. We will also take advantage of that visit to include preliminary meetings with constituents available during the summer months including trustees, cabinet members, faculty, staff, students and alumnae. My personal priority, and I know it is also that of Deb and Elizabeth, is to ensure that the search process is as inclusive as possible and incorporates the reflections and feedback of all members of our community. The search committee will be discussing the best ways to gather this feedback—including meetings and conversations in the early fall—to ensure that all constituencies are included. A website dedicated to the presidential search will be developed in the coming month and made available to the Agnes Scott community as well as to potential candidates. Details on the process itself and the ways in which everyone can participate will be forthcoming. In the meantime, as we begin our work, I welcome any thoughts and suggestions that you would like to share. You may email me at

I am certain Agnes Scott will attract a talented pool of candidates as a result of Elizabeth's leadership and our work together. The selection of our next president will only add to the positive momentum we benefit from today. Thank you in advance for your support and involvement in the process ahead.

The coming academic year will provide many opportunities for us to express our love and gratitude for Elizabeth and the 12 years she and her husband, Jeff, will have given to our college. I know you will want to join me and the trustees of the college in showing our appreciation to them and acknowledging her amazing accomplishments. One way we hope you will celebrate Elizabeth's legacy is by sharing your stories and photos of her from over the years on social media, using #AKissGoodbye as the hashtag.

Elizabeth D. Holder ’82
Chair, Board of Trustees