Board will extend president’s contract

By Drew Hunt

In his 10th year as Columbia president, Warrick L. Carter has signed a contract extension that will ensure his leadership through the 2014 academic year.

The decision, which was announced in a press release on Nov. 8, was reached unanimously by the college’s Board of Trustees during the summer.

“The trustees are generally very happy with Dr. Carter’s work,” said Len Strazewski, associate journalism professor and faculty representative on the Board of Trustees. “The trustees are very aware of how dramatically improved the college’s fundraising has been under Dr. Carter’s leadership. They recognize he is on a sort of roll right now.”

Allen M. Turner, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said Carter has presided over enormous strides by the college since taking the position, including construction of the recently opened Media Production Center, which Turner described as Carter’s “crown jewel,” as well as a $100 million fundraising campaign, the first of its kind at the college.

According to Turner, it was in the best interest of the college to retain Carter as president.

“We feel there [are] huge gains we can still make and build upon,” Turner said. “And the best way to do that is to keep the winning team together. So our view is [Carter] is the leader of the winning team.”

Carter said the college is in the middle of a long-term strategic plan, and it was his wish to see it to the end.

“It would not be in the best interest of a college to change horses in the middle of a race,” Carter said. “I’m trying to get this race completed.”

Recently, the college announced its acquisition of the Johnson Publishing Co. building, 820 S. Michigan Ave. Turner said the purchase of the building is another step forward in advancing the college and i srepresentative of Columbia’s style.

In addition to the new building, Carter said he and the board will continue to make students the main focus of every decision.

“[We make] sure that our curriculum stays up to date in terms of what’s going on in media, communication and the arts,” Carter said. “We will continue to put our focus on the students.”

Turner said the board shares this viewpoint on remaining on the cutting edge of arts and media.

“We want our curriculum to meet 21st Century demands,” Turner said. “We’ve got to make sure we give people the tools they need to adapt to the changes of the 21st Century.”

Although Strazewski is a non-voting member of the board, he attends each meeting and said there was no hesitation on its behalf in extending Carter’s contract. He said he was not surprised to see the board’s voting members eager to extend Carter’s leadership.

“[Carter] has become a master at telling the Columbia story,” Strazewski said. “He is in many ways representative of Columbia. He is not a hired gun kind of president many colleges have. He’s not some lawyer who was hired to be a college president; he’s a teacher and an artist.”

According to Turner, it is Carter’s background in the arts that makes him a valuable asset for the college.

Ultimately, Carter said he feels lucky to be in the position he is in.

“I really can’t think of any other place I’d rather be,” Carter said. “I really don’t think there is any other place that is exciting as we are, and I’m still excited about going to work every day. If I get to the point that I’m not, then I should leave. But I’m still excited about going to work.”