Concord University Narrows Presidential Search: Four Contenders Invited to Visit Campus This Month

For Immediate Release: 
Mar 03 2008

CONTACT: Ted Rogers, Chair, CU Presidential Search Committee

Concord University Narrows Presidential Search: Four Contenders Invited to Visit Campus This Month

Athens, W.Va. – Mr. Ted Rogers, chair for the Concord University Presidential Search Committee, announces that the Committee has narrowed the University’s search for a new president to four candidates. The University has invited the finalists and their families to visit the University’s campus this month to meet with the campus and community constituent groups and become familiar with the southern West Virginia area.

“Over the past five months, our Committee has considered an impressive group of candidates who expressed an interest in becoming the next president of Concord University,” said Ted Rogers, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, and member of the Concord University Board of Governors. “We have been very pleased by both the quality and the number of talented candidates from our region and around the country.”

“The committee has worked tirelessly and been dedicated to finding a new president who will be a good match for this institution,” Rogers continued. “After personally interviewing many of the most qualified candidates, we are confident that any of these four finalists – each one with unique strengths – can be that president.”

The finalists include the following: Gregory F. Aloia, Ph.D. – currently dean of the College of Education and professor of special education at Florida Atlantic University; M. Cynthia Farris, Ph.D. – currently associate provost, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Sharon D. Hoffman, Ph.D. – currently provost and vice president for academic affairs at Clayton State University, Georgia; and John David Smith, J.D. – currently professor, vice president for student affairs, and dean of students, Concord University.

The finalists will meet on campus with students, faculty, staff, community members, and other constituencies. Specific times and locations will be announced in advance of their visits. Following the visits, the Presidential Search Committee will continue its interview and selection process and make a recommendation to the Concord University Board of Governors and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, with the target date for selection before the end of the spring 2008 semester.

“The Presidential Search Committee wants to encourage the Concord community to welcome these qualified candidates and their families into our community and make them feel at home,” Chairman Rogers stated.

The Presidential Search Committee includes the following: Ted Rogers, chair of Search Committee and immediate past chair, Concord University Board of Governors; J. Franklin Long, Esq., chair, Board of Governors; R. Lane Bailey, vice chair, Board of Governors; Jim Brown, member, Board of Governors; Hugh Campbell, Ed.D., professor of education, president of the faculty; Jim Cannon, vice president for business and finance, Concord University; Wayne Meisel, member, Board of Governors; Amy Pitzer, classified staff representative, Board of Governors; Travis Prince, student representative, Board of Governors; Margaret Sayre, secretary, Board of Governors; David R. Tyson, Esq., chair, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission; and Brian Noland, Ph.D., chancellor, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.




Gregory F. Aloia, Ph.D., is currently the Dean of the College of Education and Professor of Special Education at Florida Atlantic University since June 2001. His prior educational administrative experience consisted of being the Associate Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies, at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, and Chair of the Department of Special Education at the State University College in Geneseo, New York. He has also been a college football coach and served as the head wrestling coach at the University of California at Riverside.

Dr. Aloia has a B.A. degree in History from St. Mary's College in California and a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of California at Riverside. He has worked for the U.S. Office of Education in Washington, D.C., and has been a faculty member at the University of Arizona, Arkansas State University, and the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Throughout his career he has been honored for his teaching, research, and service as the Outstanding Faculty Member by Arkansas State University, the Educator of the Year by the Arizona Association of Retarded Citizens, and the Educator of the Year by the Student Education Association at Illinois State University. He has received awards for excellence in mentoring underrepresented students, and was inducted into his alma mater's Athletic Hall of Fame.

He has been involved in international programs for more than 20 years. He has lectured in Brazil, Korea, Thailand, and Hong Kong and was named Honorary Dean of the College of Education at Taegu University, South Korea. As graduate Dean, he oversaw graduate and exchange programs in Mexico, Thailand, Korea, and China. Currently, the College of Education at FAU has made a strong effort to increase its involvement in international education. It hosted the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement in 2006 and has been active in South America, Malaysia, India, Russia, and the Netherlands.

Dr. Aloia has also served as a consultant to several state educational agencies and the federal government. Throughout his career he has been an active researcher and writer. He has over 65 publications, including a children's book entitled The Legend of the Golden Straw. He has presented more than 60 papers at international and national professional conferences and has been awarded multiple federal, state, and foundation grants during his career. He has also been an active fundraiser for his institutions generating several million dollars in pledges, matches, and donations.

He and his wife, Mary, a Montessori teacher, have been married for 33 years and have 7 children.


M. Cynthia Farris earned a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, and two degrees from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro; M.Ed. in Counseling and Ph.D. in Family Studies. She joined UNC Greensboro as the Executive Assistant to the Chancellor on June 1, 1998. Her duties included serving as the UNCG’s liaison to the General Assembly. Currently, she is serving as the Associate Provost for Enrollment Services with oversight of Undergraduate Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Academic Services, the Student Success Center, the Office of Academic System and Student Achievement and the University Registrar’s Office. During her 14-year tenure at Salem College, Cindy served in a variety of administrative roles including Chair of the Department of Sociology, Dean of Students and Associate Dean of the College. In addition to receiving the Phohl Award, the College’s highest honor for service, she was twice named the Outstanding Teacher of the Year, and was recognized as a Notable Faculty Member in the Piedmont Triad by Triad Style Magazine.

Dr. Farris and her husband Keith, a mechanical engineer, reside in Kernersville, North Carolina. They have two grown children, Kristen, and Timothy.


Dr. Sharon Hoffman is Clayton State’s first Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs and the former Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Spalding University in Louisville, Ky.

Dr. Hoffman holds a B.S. from California State University in Los Angeles, a M.S. from the University of Minnesota, an M.B.A. in Marketing from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Minnesota. She earned a certificate from the Institute for the management of Higher Education at Harvard University. In addition, she was selected as one of the 30 vice presidents for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Millennium Leadership Class of 2000.

A member of the Phi Kappa Phi Scholarly Honor Society, a Distinguished Lecturer for Sigma Theta Tau International, Hoffman is a Fellow in the America Academy of Nursing. She is well-known as an international consultant for higher education and strategic planning.

At Spalding University as a Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs she also served as interim President. She has experience as a dean and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Hoffman was also associate dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and an associate professor at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio and, from 1971 to 1983, held a variety of administrative positions a the University of Minnesota, including assistant dean for Outreach, assistant dean for Undergraduate Instruction and director.


John David Smith is originally from Summers County and is a third generation Concordian. Smith obtained his baccalaureate degree from Concord College. He furthered his education at West Virginia University and Marshall University receiving graduate degrees in Social Work and Psychology, respectively. Additionally, he received his Juris Doctor from the University of Toledo and a post-doctoral LL.M. from DePaul University. Smith currently serves Concord University as the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students. Prior to his current position, Smith served as a tenured Professor and Chair of the Division of Social Sciences, Director of the Social Work Program, and instituted the Legal Studies and Pre-law Program. He also directed the Counseling Center and Public Service Initiative. He has been the primary investigator on numerous federal and state research projects and has provided nonpartisan research support for legislators, the Supreme Court of Appeals, and the Office of the Attorney General. Moreover, he has been successful in obtaining external funding to support University initiatives. Smith has been an invited speaker at international, national, state, and local forums and has coauthored articles related to aging and disabilities. Further, he has developed national and statewide training programs and websites. Smith has received recognition from professional and student groups including the National Association of Social Workers’ Exemplar Award for Excellence in Management, and The Joseph Friedl Award bestowed by the Concord University Student Government Association.

Before returning to West Virginia, Smith served in joint faculty/administrative appointments at the University of Illinois at Chicago, (UIC) and the University of Illinois Medical Center and Clinics. At UIC, Smith engaged in research and teaching at the graduate level and was responsible for leading diverse departments and employee classifications. Before being recruited to UIC, Smith was a director at The Toledo Hospital and Promedica Systems, Toledo, Ohio, and also was a director at St. Mary’s Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia. Smith began his career in southern West Virginia employed by the West Virginia Commission on Aging, Concord College, and the Southern West Virginia Regional Health Council.

Currently, Smith serves as the higher education representative to the West Virginia Developmental Disabilities Council Board, Vice Chair of the Community Corrections Board, Vice Chair of Child Law Board of Directors, Chair of the West Virginia Social Work Education Consortium, and serves on numerous other national and community boards including, Hospice of Southern West Virginia, National Certification Board NNSWM, United Way, Concord University Research Corporation, WECAN, GlenWood Park Foundation, Concord University Alumni Board, and the Pine Trees Chapter Board. Smith is also completing his second term on the Athens Town Council.


CONCORD UNIVERSITY NOTES: Concord University was founded in 1872 and is a selective baccalaureate institution with a strong commitment to programs of excellence in teacher education, business, pre-professional programs in the arts and sciences, and public service. Promoting student learning is the University's primary function, complemented by scholarly activity and public service that contribute to the balanced and enduring economic development of southern West Virginia, to the enrichment of the region's general quality of life, and to the improvement of the public schools. Concord University is committed to its role as a liberal arts university with an emphasis on academic programs that proceed from or relate to that orientation. The University has a carefully defined and clearly understood vision of the liberally educated person, and judges quality and success on the basis of knowledge and performance measured in relation to those ideals.

Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679, extension 6086 if special assistance or help is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.