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Finalists Announced in Search for Salem State University’s 14th President


May 4, 2017 


Nicole Giambusso                                                                                    
(o) 978-542-3019 | (m) 978-880-0152                                                                                            

Kim Burnett
(o) 978-542-3043 | (m) 978-778-5158


Finalists Announced in Search for Salem State University’s 14th President

*Candidate headshots are available upon request*

SALEM – Salem State University’s presidential search committee has named four finalists to be considered as the institution’s 14th president. The candidates will engage in a series of interviews and open forums on campus next week.  

The finalists are: 

  • Deborah Bordelon, PhD, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Governors State University
  • Bashar Hanna, PhD, Professor of Biology, former Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty at Delaware Valley University
  • John Keenan, JD, General Counsel and Vice President for Administration at Salem State University
  • Anny Morrobel-Sosa, PhD, President and Founder of The Micaela Group, former Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Herbert H. Lehman College, City University of New York (CUNY) 

 “We entered this search seeking a visionary leader with a commitment to academic excellence, student success and continued partnership with the North-of-Boston region and beyond,” said Teresa Chisholm, chair of the presidential search committee and a member of the Salem State University Board of Trustees. “We received an exceptional pool of diverse candidates eager to build on the university’s momentum, and we’re pleased to present these finalists to the campus community and to the Board of Trustees.” 

The search yielded over 100 candidates from 37 states and the District of Columbia, as well as three international applicants. 

During the week of May 8, the university will hold a series of forums with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and civic and business leaders, among others. The Board of Trustees will interview each of the candidates during this period with a formal vote expected on May 24 to recommend a final candidate to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE). The Board of Trustees hopes to have the new president named by the end of June, following approval by the BHE.

“The search committee, led by Trustee Chisholm, is to be commended for its extraordinary commitment of time and attention to process, and for the high quality of candidates produced,” said Paul Mattera, chair of the Salem State University Board of Trustees, who also served on the search committee. “We look forward to a high level of involvement from the campus community during this vital phase in our search.”

The 14-member presidential search committee included representatives of various constituencies on campus. It was charged with presenting a slate of finalists to the Board of Trustees. The search began in January following the announcement of President Patricia Maguire Meservey’s plans to retire after a decade of leadership. 

To assist with the search, the committee retained Witt/Kieffer, an executive search firm that specializes in higher education. Seeking a diverse pool of candidates, the position was advertised and publicized in higher education news outlets, on employment boards, and within our campus community, among other locations.

“The search committee members put in an exceptional amount of time reviewing applications, deliberating and interviewing candidates,” said Chisholm. “The finalists exemplify the characteristics we sought from the beginning, including commitment to excellence in teaching and research, to fostering an open, accessible and diverse community, to public higher education, and to building community partnerships, among others.”  

Greater detail about what the committee sought in the ideal candidate can be found in the presidential leadership profile, linked here.

More information about this search, including biographies of finalist candidates, can be found at


Salem State University, established in 1854, is a comprehensive, public institution of higher learning located approximately 15 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. One of the largest state universities in the Commonwealth, Salem State enrolls over 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 32 undergraduate programs and graduate programs that offer degrees in 24 fields. The university also has a continuing education division that offers both credit and non-credit programs. Known for the academic strength of its faculty, Salem State was named a Top Producer of U.S. Fulbright Scholars in 2011 and for the 2016-2017 academic year. The university is designated a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs, a Top College and University by Military Advanced Education, and a Best for Vets College by Military Times. In 2015 and 2016, Salem State was recognized as one of the top 100 women-led businesses in Massachusetts by the Commonwealth Institute and Boston Globe Magazine.

Nicole Giambusso
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