Last updated: February 19. 2013 5:00PM - 1185 Views

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DALLAS TWP. -- The search for the 13th president in the 88-year history of Misericordia University has been narrowed down to four finalists with a decision expected by year's end. Each finalist will visit the Back Mountain campus this week for interviews with the school's presidential search committee.

The quartet was culled from a pool of nine semifinalists.

University officials declined Monday to identify the final four or to provide details about their backgrounds.

At this point, the selection is still an internal process as the campus community works to find the future leader for Misericordia University, said Chris Borton, a member of the college's board of trustees and chair of the search committee.

But a list obtained by The Times Leader identified the finalists as Thomas Botzman, Michael Fischer, Barbara Farley and Suzanne Mellon. Their current positions were not clear but the school said none of the finalists is a college or university president or currently affiliated with a local institution.

The presidential search committee is extremely pleased with the quality of our candidates, and we are encouraged by the breadth and depth of experience in higher education they present, said Borton, a partner with the local engineering firm Borton-Lawson. AGB Search of Washington, D.C., was hired to help conduct the nationwide search.

Each candidate will meet with the presidential search committee, which includes members of the board of trustees, faculty, staff, alumni and a student representative. Over the two days of the visit, there also will be separate meetings with a number of constituencies, including members of the board, faculty, administrative and support staff, local alumni and students.

Marianne Puhalla, a school spokeswoman, said she was told if all goes as anticipated, a decision should be announced by year's end.

We hope to complete the process in the next four to five weeks, Borton said.

Current Misericordia University President Michael A. MacDowell announced in April that he will step down on June 30, 2013. He has been at the school for 14 years after arriving in July 1998 from Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., where he served as vice president.

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