Paul Smith’s College president resigns
Provost Nicholas Hunt-Bull is interim president for college
PAUL SMITHS — Paul Smith’s College’s president Scott Dalrymple resigned this week to spend more time with his family and after the college’s board of trustees said an intermittent remote work arrangement they forged with him wasn’t working out.
PSC Provost Nicholas Hunt-Bull has been named as the college’s interim president by the PSC Board of Trustees.
When Dalrymple was hired less than a year ago, he struck a deal with the PSC Board of Trustees to work remotely some of the time so he could be closer to family near Cooperstown. This was in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, when working remotely was common and technology made that possible.
Paul Smith’s College Board of Trustees Chair Mark Dzwonczyk said this arrangement was working “pretty well,” but not “great.”
“There have been times when it has not served the best interests of the campus,” Dzwonczyk wrote in a letter to the college community.
Dalrymple was on campus “most of the time,” Dzwonczyk said, but wasn’t able to be as much as the board would have liked.
Dzwonczyk said in Silicon Valley, where he lives, there’s a trend of “management by walking around,” which he said is important for Paul Smith’s College.
“We underestimated the importance of that,” he said.
He said the board felt the president should be at things like hockey and basketball games and Dalrymple didn’t feel he could commit to that.
When Dalrymple approached the board to talk about resigning, Dzwonczyk said it was unexpected but not a shock. The board agreed.
The transition happened over this past weekend.
Paul Smith’s College has had a lot of changeover in leadership recently.
Cathy Dove, PSC’s president of six years, retired in September 2020. The board of trustees appointed Jon Strauss to serve as an interim president as it conducted a search. Dzwonczyk said Dalrymple was the best candidate in that search and Dalrymple became PSC’s 12th president in July 2021.
This cycling through presidents is “not ideal” for the college, Dzwonczyk said. He’s hoping to find a new president who can fill the position long-term.
This transition comes in the middle of the spring semester.
“It may sound really sudden, but you don’t really pre-announce this sort of thing,” Dzwonczyk said.
He said while it doesn’t fit in the academic calendar, it’s not a conventional transition and they felt it was best to do it as soon as possible to get into a new era for the college.
Hunt-Bull is new president
Dzwonczyk said the board “fully endorses” Hunt-Bull as president. He said Hunt-Bull wasn’t just next in line, he was who the board wanted to take on the interim leadership role.
Dzwonczyk said the board has confidence in Hunt-Bull because he’s been on the college’s executive team since 2015 and lives right on the campus.
Hunt-Bull has a “calm, emotional confidence,” Dzwonczyk said, and knows the college’s mission and goals as well as anyone on campus.
“He also understands the student body really really well,” Dzwonczyk said.
Hunt-Bull will choose a new provost. That’s his appointment to make.
Dzwonczyk said Hunt-Bull will be considered to stay on as a full-time president if he does well.
The board of trustees will meet in May and August to discuss its next steps and a presidential search.
Dzwonczyk coudn’t guarantee that the college will have a new president in the fall semester, but said he’s confident in Hunt-Bull to take care of managing the college for as long as he needs.
“We’re not making any decisions until we meet as a board in May and August, but in our minds this is not just a transition role,” Dzwonczyk said.
If Hunt-Bull does well in the board’s eyes, they could just select him as president, but Dzwonczyk said it’s best practice to have a search process.