Students left campus last spring with one leader of the college, and returned this fall to an unexpected surprise.
According to the University System of New Hampshire [USNH] press release, Keene State College Former President Anne E. Huot announced on June 26 that she would be stepping down, “for personal and professional reasons.” Much of the campus community was shocked by this decision that left returning students unsure of what to expect for this fall.
Senior and General Manager of WKNH Nick Busby would classify Huot’s stepping down as, “abrupt.”
“She’s been here the entire time I’ve been a student here, so I kind of just expected that to continue on,” Busby said. He heard of her departure via his Facebook feed and was shocked at the news over the summer.
Senior and student body President Kenadee Cadieux agrees she was very surprised by Huot’s resignation and thought she [Huot] had at least another year of presidency for the college.
Cadieux said, “with the suddenness of Huot stepping down it has left student government wondering what is going to happen.” Though Cadieux said her organization is uneasy as to where things will go, she did note how quickly USNH filled the role of presidency at KSC.
In a press release on July 19, USNH wrote, “The University System Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Dr. Melinda Treadwell, the current Provost, and CEO at Antioch University, has been selected to serve as Interim President of Keene State College. Dr. Treadwell will be working with Chancellor Todd Leach and the USNH Board of Trustees to advance the college during this transition period.”
According to the Keene Sentinel, Treadwell will be serving as the president until a permanent replacement is named.
Senior and Orientation Coordinator Bailey St. Laurent said he was happy Treadwell was stepping in to fill the position. “I was looking forward to change, because change is good.”
He continued, “the school needed someone closer to home. Someone that was more well rounded in what Keene is about and understands the community relationship we have here. Having an alumni in this position at a very sensitive time with Keene State is a really good move and I’m happy that Melinda wanted to step up and do that.”
Treadwell was a presence on campus during Welcome Days for first-year students, according to St. Laurent. He said it was great having the President be apart of first-year move-in day.
St. Laurent said Treadwell ate lunch with the families of first-year students and helped with the move-in process.
Busby said, “there’s now the opportunity for change and I think having President Huot step down shouldn’t be a reason to look down upon her. She [Treadwell] comes in with an open-mind and everyone else should keep an open-mind too.”
Before the semester began, Busby had the opportunity to personally meet Treadwell. He said, “She was very very sweet.”
“She was doing a PSA on freshman move-in day because we were DJing it. She just came right in while I was sitting there with my co-workers and shook my hand with a smile while introducing herself. She did what she had to do and as she was leaving she thanked us for having her and told us she had fun and appreciated us for doing it. It was a very welcoming and warm experience,” Busby said.
In Busby’s past three years of attending KSC, he never once had a conversation with Huot.
On the other hand, Cadieux said student government has had what she considers, “a good working relationship,” with Huot. She said, “We are just starting over with the new president. We haven’t had a lot of experiences with her yet but from what we have seen and how willing she is getting to know students and help anyway she can I think it’s going to have a very positive impact on everything.”
Cadieux also said she feels as if there has been negative energy on campus in recent years. She is unsure whether it comes from the students or faculty but thinks the groups haven’t been coming together. “I’m hoping the new president will mesh those divides and help fill in the gaps. I hope she helps bridge the divide that has separated everyone,” Cadieux said.
Cadieux said her first impressions of Treadwell are positive. She noted that Treadwell is kind and brings good energy. “She cares about the students and that’s important when you’re the president of the college,” Cadieux said.
Busby said whenever a new person comes into office there is always the possibility for change. He continued, “She [Treadwell] brings a lot to the table for Keene State. Having the new president come up to me and be very welcoming and warm is a change in pace in a positive way.”
As students aren’t completely sure where this change in leadership could take the college, several are thinking the odds are in their favor. Cadieux said, “I’m hoping having her here with affect the college positively and that it will lighten the air and energy on campus. Hopefully it will also bring the college and Keene community together.”
Emma Hamilton can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclosure: Emma Hamilton is a member of Student Government. To avoid a conflict of interest, Equinox editor Grace Pecci conducted the interview with Kenadee Cadieux, Student Body President.
Grace can be contacted at email@example.com.