Melinda Treadwell is officially the eleventh President of Keene State College, effective November 1. After serving as the Interim President for about one year, the decision was made by the University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees to appoint Melinda as the official President in a unanimous vote on Friday, October 26. This was announced at a Town Hall meeting at the Redfern Arts Center on Monday October 29.
Treadwell was considered for the position initially because of her previous work at KSC as the Interim Provost. USNH Board of Trustees Chairman John Small said, “When it came time to think about an Interim [President] her name kind of naturally came up. I think at that time she was in her own fork in the road in life thinking about what she wanted to do and decided that it would be a good fit to come back. We were pleased to have it be someone that we knew.”
When it came time to make the decision for a permanent President, the process was greatly influenced by the listening sessions that were held by the Board of Trustees Hiring Committee. The sessions were held on two days in September and one day in October. These sessions allowed various constituency groups, such as students, faculty, staff and public officials to listen to what Treadwell had to say, ask her questions and then voice their opinions on Treadwell to the Board.
Chair of the Hiring Board of Trustees Hiring Committee Jamie Burnett said, “The sessions themselves were really well attended. I think we lost track at about 260 different people that came to participate, which was impressive. We had full sessions and nobody hesitated to speak up. They were the main component of the whole process.”
While many had positive opinions on Treadwell, the Board remains confident in their decision to still go through the process, rather than appointing her as President without hearing the opinions of the community.
Small said, “I think people want to have the ability to express their opinion, even if it’s positive. The process we did was a really good one because you never know what people might say. Even though we were hoping it would come out this way, the process allowed us to learn some new things and help Melinda be successful.”
In her speech at the Town Hall meeting, Treadwell said, “In the process of this hiring process nothing was assumed, so I wanted to say that I deeply appreciate that we had a hiring process for this role at Keene State that galvanized my commitment and interest to serve this role.”
Treadwell also stated her hopes for KSC in the future as she moves forward as President. “I promise you we will engage in a strategic planning effort in our work going forward to ensure that Keene State continues being a valuable and incredibly strong contributor to the hiring landscape to our city and to our region.”
There is no limit to how long a President may serve the College. Treadwell’s current contract is for three years. “About one year before that contract is up we start talking about the next contract, it’s a continual contract. In recent history often our second contract to Presidents have been five year contracts,” Small said.
In the time that she will hold this position, Treadwell hopes to serve the College as best she can. “I will always live and breathe Keene State … I’m kind of a yellow lab. I bound around this campus with unending energy and hope and positivity and that’s not going to change. I will find the means and the resources to inspire your best creativity.”
Rachel Vitello can be contacted at