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5 semifinalists in running to lead Empire State College

By Tatiana Zarnowski
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Five semifinalists for president of SUNY Empire State College will visit the school next week for their close-up before the final decision is made.

One is the college's current acting president and the other four live and work all over the country.
The candidates are:

* Fred Hurst, who has a doctorate in arts and sciences from Union Institute and University, a master's of public administration from Wichita State University, a master's degree in education and instructional systems technology from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree in telecommunications from Indiana University. Hurst has experience in distance learning and 20 years of experience with adult and nontraditional students. He is currently the senior vice president for extended campuses at Northern Arizona University.

* Merodie Hancock, who holds a doctorate in urban services and education administration from Old Dominion University, a master's of business administration from Claremont Graduate University and a bachelor's degree in economics from Scripps College. She has experience educating veterans and active-duty military personnel. She is vice president of Central Michigan University Global Campus.

* Meg Benke, Empire State College's acting president, who has a doctorate in student personnel from Ohio University and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Youngstown State University. She has served on national boards and committees that shape policy for adult learners. Benke was previously provost and vice president for academic affairs for Empire.

* David Schejbal, who has a doctorate and master's degree in philosophy from the University of Connecticut and a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Iowa State University. He has experience in adult, online and independent learning and serves as dean of continuing education, outreach and e-learning for the University of Wisconsin Extension.

* Alan G. Walker, who has a doctorate in higher education policy and administration from the University of Kansas, a master's degree in vocational and adult education and a bachelor's degree in trade and industrial technical education from the University of Idaho, as well as an associate degree in fire science from the College of Southern Idaho. He has nearly 30 years of experience in teaching and administration of adult learners. Walker is president of Upper Iowa University.

The new president will replace former President Alan Davis, who left the college last year to become president of Kwantlen University in British Columbia.

Empire State College is the nontraditional arm of SUNY and is headquartered in Saratoga Springs.

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