Dr. Colette McCarrkick Geary talks with a student in the Benedictine Commons after the announcement was made that she would she would become the next president of the College of St. Scholastica on Friday, April 1, 2016. Photo credit to Emmanuel Ayisi

Geary to Become Next CSS President

Jimmy Lovrien

Dr. Colette McCarrkick Geary will serve as the next president of the College of St. Scholastica, school officials announced at an event last week.

Geary, 55, will take over on July 1, 2016 following the official retirement of current president Larry Goodwin, who has filled that role since 1998. Geary is currently the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at the College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, NY.

“It’s overwhelming, it’s exhilarating,” Geary told the Cable after the ceremony. “I have been looking forward to today and really just becoming part of the community.”

Geary first found out about the position through the academic search firm. She said that she initially had not known a lot about St. Scholastica but liked what she saw. “So I began to explore, and as I did, I was drawn more deeply and more deeply into the story,” Geary said. “And then when I came for the campus visit, I really knew that this was a place that I felt that I could really contribute to this community.”

Goodwin made brief remarks — choking up at times — to the students, faculty, staff, and other attendees at Friday’s ceremony then led them in singing “Vivat St. Scholastica.”

“I’ve gone through a whole range of emotions … but today it feels really good,” Goodwin said after the ceremony, adding that he believes Geary is the right person for the job.

Earlier in year, one of two finalists in the first batch of candidates vying for the position of president of the College of St. Scholastica withdrew himself from consideration. Members of the presidential search committee said he likely would have received an offer to become president. As a result, the committee chose to extend the search. In February, three more presidential finalists — including Geary — visited campus.

Jessica Durbin, co chair of the presidential search committee, said that the candidate withdrawing in the fall no longer feels like a setback.

“We got the right person and it took a little bit longer, but in the end it was definitely worth it.” Durbin said.

She reflected on the first time the search committee met with Geary and the impressions she left them with.

“It was amazing when we met her (Geary) — we had the neutral site off-campus interview — and she walked out of the room and everybody kind of looked at eachother and started smiling and it just felt so comfortable,” said Durbin.

Durbin will now be a member of the transition committee. The committee, she said, has two focuses: a “celebration of Larry” and the welcoming of Dr. Geary and her family to the school and area. Durbin said Goodwin has met with Geary — and will continue to meet with her — to offer advice and guidance. Goodwin said the two will not step on each other’s toes.

“We’ve both said independently that we want to do what’s best for the school. She says, ‘I’m gonna keep out of your way until I’m the president’ and I’ve said, ‘Once I’m done, I’m going to keep out of your way’ and we’ll help each other as best we can,” said Goodwin.

“I’ll miss it,” he said. “But it makes a big difference if you give it to somebody that you think will take care of it and really do better.”