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Presidential Search

Lake Forest College is seeking its fourteenth president to continue to lead the College.

Stephen Schutt has served as the president of Lake Forest College for 20 years, and under his tenure, the campus has developed, diversified, and flourished. As President Schutt moves into retirement, Lake Forest College is committed to finding a leader who will not only build on our traditions and connect with our community, but help shape the future of our institution.

Search correspondence
Campus Message from Board of Trustees Vice Chair Bill Lowry '84, September 30, 2021

To the Lake Forest College Community,

I am writing with an update on our shared efforts to identify the College’s 14th president and a worthy successor to President Stephen Schutt.

I would like to thank all of you who participated in conversations with our consultants Shelly Storbeck, Ruth Shoemaker Wood, and Lindsay Allison from Storbeck Search. Your thoughtful comments provided the basis for the creation of the search prospectus, a valuable tool that will be used to solicit nominations and recruit candidates nationally. We invite you to review the finalized copy which is available here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/about-us/presidential-search/prospectus.

As you review the search prospectus, please pay particular attention to the attributes most highly desired in our new President. We urge you to suggest people you know who could serve effectively in this critically important position, or those you think might know of potential candidates. Please forward their names to Storbeck Search at: lakeforestpresident@storbecksearch.com. Please rest assured that names and information will be treated with full confidentiality.

Over the next several weeks, we will generate a national candidate pool through nominations received from you and others, sourcing outreach at other colleges and universities similar to Lake Forest College in scope and mission, advertising in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, and a number of other relevant websites, and the proactive direct outreach of our search firm. Later this fall, the search committee will begin to narrow the candidate pool. In preparation for this important role, I am pleased to share that all of our search committee members will undergo anti-bias training.

I will continue to send periodic updates, and you can learn more about the search process by visiting our Presidential Search website here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/about-us/presidential-search. If you have not yet provided your input, please visit the survey on our webpage to provide your feedback.

The search is off to a strong start. I will write to you again as we enter subsequent stages of the process. Thank you for your involvement and support.

Bill Lowry ‘84
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Vice Chair, Board of Trustees

Campus Message from Board of Trustees Chair David F. Gorter ’80, June 25, 2021

To the Lake Forest College Community,

President Schutt informed the Board of Trustees this morning – as he explained in his campus message today – that he plans to finish his term as the College’s president next summer (2022). The Board reluctantly accepts his decision with great appreciation for his 20 years of exemplary service.

Steve has been an exceptional leader for the College.  Under his direction, we have developed innovative new academic programs, the student body has grown by 35%, Chicago connections have grown deep and strong, development campaigns have raised more than $300 million, the campus has been transformed, and our national rankings have never been higher.  Steve has laid a strong foundation for the next president, and my fellow trustees and alumni have never been prouder of the College.

The Board of Trustees has primary responsibility for the selection of our next president. I am delighted that Board Vice Chair William A. Lowry ’84 has agreed to lead a national search to find an outstanding successor to Steve.  Later this summer, he will reach out to form a strong search committee of trustees, faculty, staff, alumni, and students.  We will also retain a national executive search firm to recruit candidates and help guide the search.  Our goal is to bring top-flight final candidates to the College for campus-wide interviews in January or February 2022, and then to select a new president who will take office by July 1, 2022.  Throughout the search process, the Board will make sure to provide monthly updates to all College constituencies.

Over the year ahead, Steve will continue to lead the College as expertly as he has done for the past two decades.  For now, please join me in congratulating him on his successful tenure, and best wishes to everyone. 

David F. Gorter ’80
Chair of the Board of Trustees

Campus Message from President Stephen D. Schutt, June 25, 2021

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

Next Thursday, July 1, 2021, will be the 20th anniversary of my arrival at Lake Forest College.  I am very grateful to all of you for giving me the privilege to serve as the College’s president.

Two decades is a considerable period for anyone, and I informed the Board of Trustees this morning that the academic year ahead will be my final one as president.  I am confident that the right time has come for this transition.  The pandemic is largely behind us, and the College is in strong shape for the future.  The biggest entering class in our history will arrive this August, Brown Hall is nearly finished, the new Health Professions Program is rapidly advancing, we completed a $140 million campaign last autumn, and our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are making meaningful progress.

The three officers of the Board of Trustees and I have discussed this over the past several weeks.  As Board Chair David F. Gorter ’80 will relate in a separate campus message today, the Board will form a search committee of trustees, faculty, staff, students, and alumni later this summer, and will also select a highly regarded professional search firm.  By the beginning of September, the search committee will open a national search for the College’s next president, who will begin work next summer.

For the six months from July through December 2022, at the Board’s request, I will work as president emeritus to complete several key fundraising projects.  Thereafter, from January through June 2023, I will take my first-ever sabbatical before moving on to my next chapter.

Throughout the academic year ahead, of course, I will continue to work full tilt.  I can’t wait to see everyone return to campus this fall, after all of the past year’s challenges and isolation. I also look forward to the long-term planning process beginning this summer, which will produce inspiring new directions for the College by next spring. 

I feel very fortunate to have played a role in the life and progress of the College.  Together we have launched thriving new academic programs, increased enrollment, improved our campus, connected with Chicago, formed valuable partnerships, and reached many other goals that make me proud.  What matters still more is the life-changing education that thousands of students have experienced and continue to experience here every year.  To our faculty and staff who provide that education with such talent and commitment, and to our students who seize their opportunities here in such inspiring ways, I thank you from my heart. 

Stephen D. Schutt
President
Lake Forest College

Community Input

Input from the College community is essential in this process to ensure that the fourteenth President of the College can effectively serve the College. Please take a few minutes to fill out this brief survey. 

Nominations and Applications

For consideration, please email LakeForestPresident@storbecksearch.com.

The Search Committee

The presidential search committee is chaired by William A. Lowry ’84, who is joined by Trustees David Castagnetti ’84, Jessica Coleman ’89, Geoffrey Curtis ’97, Robert D. Krebs, Randy Lauer ’81, Robert Murley, and Dr. Angelique Richard ’85. The committee also includes faculty members Associate Professor of Philosophy Daw-Nay Evans, Professor of Economics Jeff Sundberg, and Associate Professor of Chemistry Dawn Wiser, administrative staff Associate Dean of Students Erin Hoffman and Associate Interim Associate Vice President for College Marketing Jackie Hoefler, and students Gabe Anzeze ’23 and Ashlyn Pope ’23.

The search committee will be meeting throughout the search to discuss progress and consult on candidates recruited by Storbeck Search. The search committee will interview the most promising candidates and determine a group of finalists to be invited for confidential campus visits. Appointment to the Office of the President is finalized by the Board of Trustees.

The Search Firm

Lake Forest College is partnering with Storbeck Search in order to recruit candidates who support our institutional vision, values, and needs. Storbeck Search has extensive experience with recruiting presidential candidates for higher education institutions and a proven track record of actively selecting prospects for a diverse and changing world. The Storbeck Search team is working directly with the Lake Forest College community to determine the qualities, background, and experience of the ideal candidate.

The partners and associates at Storbeck Search have led almost 200 searches for institutions of higher education at the president or chancellor level. This firm’s values align with ours in their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Nearly one-third of Storbeck’s leadership placements have come from underrepresented groups, and women have comprised more than half. Over the past decade and a half, 87 percent of Storbeck’s presidential placements are either still in office or served for at least five years.

Learn more at www.storbecksearch.com

Steve Schutt
I feel very fortunate to have played a role in the life and progress of the College. Together we have launched thriving new academic programs, increased enrollment, improved our campus, connected with Chicago, formed valuable partnerships, and reached many other goals that make me proud. What matters still more is the life-changing education that thousands of students have experienced and continue to experience here every year. To our faculty and staff who provide that education with such talent and commitment, and to our students who seize their opportunities here in such inspiring ways, I thank you from my heart.
President Steve Schutt