Bachand named fourth president, to assume presidency Monday

Donald Bachand, provost and vice president for academic affairs at SVSU, has been named the fourth president of the university.

Bachand succeeds Eric Gilbertson, who has served as president since 1989.

Gilbertson announced his resignation in June. He is taking a sabbatical before returning to the university as a full-time faculty member.

Bachand assumed the presidency Monday, Feb. 17.

Jeff Martin, chair of the Board of Control, said those who helped in the presidential process did an exceptional job.

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank everyone who spent time with the finalists during their visits to campus,” he said. “We received a large number of very thoughtful responses from you and we read them all. They helped us to reach the decision that Don is the right person to lead SVSU at this time.”

“I am humbled by the appointment, and I will do my very best,” Bachand said.

Bachand said he was looking forward to the challenges of the position. He said promoting the university is one of the first big steps he would take.

“We have a great product,” Bachand said. “We just need people to know about it and have access to it.”

Bachand will also work to prepare the university’s budget, as well as prepare for the Higher Learning Commission’s site visit in April as part of the reaccreditation process.

“There are lots of things to do in the next two or three weeks,” Bachand said.

Interested parties for the presidential position had to submit a resume or vita, a letter explaining their interest in SVSU and five references.

The Board narrowed a selection pool of more than 40 candidates to 15 interviewed candidates, and then to four finalists in January, deciding who would follow in the footsteps of previous presidents Samuel Marble, Jack Ryder and Gilbertson in the Board’s meeting on Feb. 10.

“As a result of that (process), we found the best candidate who we found best aligned with the university,” Martin said.

Bachand was originally hired in 1978, taking on a position as an associate professor of criminal justice.

Before working at SVSU as a professor and later the dean of the College of Arts and Behavioral Sciences, Bachand served as a sergeant with the Detroit Police Department.

In his most previous role, Bachand oversaw SVSU’s academic programs and curriculum.

“I have been here a long time, and I would like to think I have played a role in the growth and development of creating the culture and work environment that we have at SVSU,” he said during the finalist forums. “I think I still have something to offer. I’m not interested in going to other places. Otherwise, I would have gone a long time ago. I chose to stay here. I think there is a lot of work to do.”

Bachand said he has no plans on when he would retire from his position as president.

“It’s all about how you feel about your career, the people you work with and what you’re contributing,” he said. “If I feel like I’m contributing a high level, then I can continue to motivate people in a fashionable way.”

Bachand will receive an annual salary of $250,000, as well as a university-owned home and vehicle. He also receives the same health care and retirement benefits as other SVSU employees.

“I know this place, and I’m ready to hit the ground running,” he said. “I think I am ready to assume responsibility and continue learning all the important skills that make an effective president.”

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