Presidential Search

Mars Hill University is a premier private, liberal arts institution offering over 30 baccalaureate degrees and master's degrees in elementary education, criminal justice, and management. Founded in 1856 by Baptist families of the region, the campus is located just 20 minutes north of Asheville in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Following Dr. Lunsford’s January announcement that he will be resigning after serving as President for 15 years, Mars Hill University Board of Trustees launched a search for our next leader.

AUGUST 8, 2017

Dear Mars Hill University Family and Friends,

Cheryl Pappas Pres SearchThe MHU Presidential Search Committee continues to make great progress. Since our last update in May, the committee has met two more times. Our main focus in those meetings was to select a search firm to help us as we move into the next phase of the presidential search process.

We narrowed a list of about 75 potential search firms to three highly respected firms that we felt were most suitable for our particular search. Leaders of those firms visited campus in June and presented their proposals.

I am pleased to announce that, after careful consideration of the proposals, the committee voted unanimously to partner with the search firm of Coleman Lew + Associates of Charlotte, North Carolina. Coleman Lew is a national, retained executive search firm with many years of experience in recruiting for leadership in academic institutions. Their focus in higher education has been on private, liberal arts institutions similar to Mars Hill. Top executives of Coleman Lew, including its president, will be working closely with the search committee. Their extensive experience will be invaluable as they advise and guide us through the recruitment, interview, and selection process.

Our next task is to work with Coleman Lew to finalize and approve the position prospectus. This document will summarize the qualifications and characteristics we are seeking in our next university president, and will include input that many of you contributed during our listening sessions earlier this year. With the prospectus finalized, we will be well positioned for the next steps of the search process.

We anticipate that by mid-September we'll be ready to post the position on both the MHU website and the Coleman Lew website. We also plan to advertise the position in well-known higher education resources such as the Chronicle of Higher Education. We expect to receive applications from many talented candidates and will continue to keep you updated as the process moves forward.

In closing, let me assure you that every member of the search committee is fully dedicated to the responsibility of the task before us. We are deeply committed to representing the voices of those who care so much about the rich history, culture, traditions, and values that are unique to Mars Hill University. We appreciate your continued prayers, interest, support, and involvement. They are essential to the successful completion of the presidential search.


Cheryl Buchanan Pappas ‘70
Presidential Search Committee