By: Allie Gauthier – Print Editor-in-Chief
After a special meeting Friday, the Board of Trustees unanimously appointed UD’s 19th president, Eric Spina, Ph.D., and officially announced the decision Tuesday morning in the KU Ballroom—a moment Board of Trustees Chair Steve Cobb called “historic.”
Cobb praised Spina for bringing strength through diversity to Syracuse University, where he was vice chancellor and provost for nearly nine of his 27 years at the university. Cobb said the “student-centric” Spina will help UD educate the whole person.
Following Cobb was David Yeager, chair of the presidential search committee, who said the committee interviewed nine possible candidates and narrowed it down to four semi-finalists before making its decision.
President Curran also had few words. He welcomed the Spina family and assured the audience that “the fit is perfect.” Curran said when he began his presidency, he felt overwhelmed, but his own predecessor, Rev. Fitz, made him feel at home. Lucky for him, Curran continued, Spina had Rev. Fitz and himself to ease the transition.
Curran emphasized Spina’s shared mission with UD: building a better community for future generations. However, Curran said Spina first needs to improve his wardrobe: He has way too much orange. Curran then presented Spina and his family with UD sprit wear.
Finally, Spina himself spoke. At first, the only thing he said was “wow.”
Then, he shared how he kept waking up in the middle of the night anxious after accepting the job, but, how now, he’d been waking up excited.
“Until recently, I didn’t realize this is my dream,” Spina said.
Spina thanked the leaders, the trustees and search committee, as well as everyone gathered in the ballroom before bringing up the Syracuse loss to the Flyers in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. “Who knew our paths would cross again under happier circumstances?” he said.
Spina said he kept getting asked “why Dayton?” His answer? “Because I’m coming home.”
“From the first time I read the job description to spending a weekend here with my wife,” he said, “I knew I was coming home.”
Spina will officially begin serving as president July 1, 2016.
Check flyernews.com Wednesday, Sept. 23 for the FN-exclusive interview with incoming UD President Spina.