University System of New Hampshire Chancellor Edward MacKay announced on Friday, April 20, that current Vice President of Finance and Planning, Jay Kahn, will serve as Keene State College’s interim president for a one-year term while the college conducts a formal search for a permanent president.
MacKay also announced the Board of Trustees’ provost selection, Dr. Melinda Treadell, who currently serves as the dean of Professional Studies. She will serve a two-year interim term during this transition period. The chancellor named a third interim position to fill Kahn’s current role, Dr. Karen House, who is currently the associate vice president for Finance and Planning. The announcement came to the crowded Mabel Brown Room following the University System Board of Trustees’ closed-door meeting Thursday, where the three were selected to lead KSC during the transition between presidents.
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MacKay said a search for a permanent president will begin this summer. “We will start a formal search in the summer and Jay will serve until that individual joins,” MacKay said, adding that Treadwell will serve a two-year term as provost which will lead into the permanent president’s term in order to “provide academic stability in a time of transition.” MacKay said Kahn was selected by the Board of Trustees because of his successful efforts as vice president for Finance and Planning. “I’ve seen firsthand how this institution has evolved,” MacKay said. “It’s had a lot of success, especially with the very hard financial circumstances of the college.”
After the announcement, Kahn spoke about the leadership President Helen Giles-Gee and Provost Emile Netzhammer have provided KSC during the past seven years and attested his appointment to their success. “Indeed, I am honored and humbled to accept the role of interim president,” Kahn said. “Without her [Giles-Gee’s] success, I wouldn’t be standing here today. Members of her cabinet gained valuable experience during her presidency and we are grateful for her guidance and leadership. This is a strong campus committed to academic excellence, student success, community partnerships, and shared governance.”
Kahn also looked to the future, and how this coming year’s election cycle will be increasingly important for education on both a state and national level. “The college needs to continue its positive momentum. The college is concerned about shrinking state appropriations and the effects it will have on our students and our staff,” he said reflecting on the sentiments expressed at the Chancellor’s forum. “It is going to be a time to make the case again how integral education is. We will have to work together to make this case.”
House said she is hopeful of the positive energy and enthusiasm of the entire community as KSC moves forward into new leadership. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the strong leadership,” she said. Treadwell agreed, adding that she sees continued success and a growing sense of community for the campus. “Dr. Netzhammer started a number of initiatives for us,” she said. Vice President for Student Affairs Andy Robinson said he was glad to see the appointments made from within the college, as was voiced at the forum. “I think the real strength to the leadership is the continuity of the excellence under President Giles-Gee,” he said. Even Giles-Gee herself looks forward to the new leadership, with no worries about the future of KSC under Kahn, Treadwell, and House. “I am very confident in the leadership that has been appointed by the board,” she said. “I have every confidence that Keene State College will continue its upward trajectory.” Because House will be leaving her position as dean of Professional and Graduate Studies, MacKay said the college will begin looking for her replacement, and expects an announcement in the coming week or two.
The president and provost positions became vacant for the 2012-2013 school year following Giles-Gee and Netzhammer’s announcements in March that they would fill positions elsewhere and would not return to KSC in the fall.
MacKay held an open forum on March 30 to explain the process of selecting a new president and provost to the KSC community as well as to draw feedback about what community members value in a president and provost. “We read every one of those comments and took them to heart. The individuals that we have selected will fill those roles and sustain that momentum,” he said.
Allie Bedell can be contacted at