Shonrock in second year as president
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President Michael Shonrock has now been at Emporia State for more than two years. He became the university’s president in January 2012.
But who hired Shonrock, and don’t they technically work for him now?
Part of the hiring process was a team called the search committee of faculty members and community members to help select the candidates they wanted to see as “finalists” in the final decision made by the Kansas Board of Regents. According to the people that selected him two years ago, they couldn’t be happier with the way he has treated the university.
Stephen Catt, chair of the department of communication and theatre, has been at the university since 1977, and has seen several presidents come through ESU.
“There have been several presidents since I’ve been here and all of them have been very capable but nobody comes close to his enthusiasm,” Catt said. “Nobody comes close to his positive outlook. Nobody comes close to his ability to connect with people.”
Starting with 40-50 applicants, the search committee had to narrow their decision down to 5 nominees for an on-campus interview and to be sent to the Board of Regents for the final decision.
“I thought it was very important to be on it (search committee) because that was the leadership position for the university and I was very interested in being able to choose someone that would be able to move the university forward in a very positive manner,” said Diana Kuhlman, associate vice president of fiscal affairs.
Kuhlman’s first impression of Shonrock was his boundless energy and optimistic attitude. He seemed to be very well informed about the university, had done his homework and spoke with passion during the interview, Kuhlman said.
“I think he has offered people hope,” Kuhlman said. “We still have to face problems financially and competition for students is getting tougher all the time, but even amidst those challenges he provides vision and hope and brings the community to have a more positive outlook.”
As a university, the college has always been very student focused and Shonrock has made sure of reinforcing that. Kuhlman said Shonrock gave them permission to “be excited and to move things forward.”
“With as much as President Shonrock does, it is hard for me to believe he has time to sleep,” said Jeanine McKenna, president and CEO of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce. “He and his wife are both stay very involved with the community.”
Catt said Shonrock must have a twin because “even an outstanding person couldn’t be all of the places he’s at.”