By Katie Gibson
In a press conference held in the Science Center atrium on Thursday, February 12th, the 20th president of Reinhardt University was announced. Dr. Kina S. Mallard will be assuming office after current university president Dr. Isherwood’s retirement later this year.
The search for this president was conducted over the previous seven-months, and just this Tuesday, Feb. 10th, the Board of Trustees voted on the three final candidates. A member of the search committee and the Reinhardt Board of Trustees Chair William G. Hasty, Jr. informed the public of several aspects of the search during his speech: “The 70 applicants were all very well qualified, yet we were particularly impressed with Dr. Mallard. Every time she spoke with us, she was so enthusiastic about being our next president. She has excellent communication skills and a heart for students.”
The 70 applicants who were considered came from across the country. Dr. Mallard comes to Reinhardt from Newman University, in Jefferson City, Tenn., where she served as executive vice president and provost since 2012. The decision process, while ultimately up to the Board of Trustees, was consulted by a search committee with representatives of the student body, faculty, and community.
Some of Dr. Mallard’s first words to the assembled students, faculty, media and community were, “That felt good, this feels like the right place to be.” Dr. Mallard has 30 years of experience in higher education and spoke enthusiastically and optimistically about the future of the University. She has a Doctorate in Communication, a Master of Arts in Organizational Communication from the University of Tennessee, and a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Theatre from Middle Tennessee State University.
As Dr. Mallard concluded her speech thanking the various people that led to her being chosen as the new president for Reinhardt University she said, “I am humbled and I am honored. From the moment I met the search committee I knew this was the perfect place.” Before she left the podium she simply said, “Let’s go Eagles.”
Reinhardt’s Student Government Association president and search committee member Alexander Bryant presented Dr. Mallard and her husband Steve Dietz with an engraved door knocker as a gift welcoming them to Reinhardt. In Bryant’s speech he likened Reinhardt to an old southern home, and invited Dr. Mallard to stay awhile, ending his speech with a resounding, “welcome home” as he presented her with the gift.
Dr. Isherwood, Reinhardt’s current president, will retire on June 30th, with Dr. Mallard assuming office on July 1st of this year.