Friends University Selects Four Finalists for President

News Date: 
Mon. 01/10/2011

Friends University, the region's leading Christian-based liberal arts institution, has named four finalists in its search to replace long-time president, Dr. Biff Green, who will retire June 30, 2011. Since fall 2010, members of the Presidential Search Committee have been working to identify Friends’ next president. The candidates were selected from an original pool of more than 70 applicants.

The finalists are as follows:

  • Dr. Deneese Jones, dean, College of Education and Human Services,
    Longwood University, Farmville, Virginia
  • Dr. Tom Keon, dean, College of Business Administration,
    University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
  • Dr. TJ Arant, executive vice president/provost,
    Mount Olive College, Mount Olive, North Carolina
  • Dr. William Berry, executive vice president/provost,
    University of Dallas, Irving, Texas

Board of Trustees Chair and Presidential Search Committee Chairman Rod Pitts has been leading the process. Pitts and the 14-member search committee have been actively engaged in the search process since fall of last year. They collaborated with a respected consultant who conducted the nationwide search to identify candidates who met the position profile requirements.

"We are looking for candidates who can take Friends University to the next level and build on the foundation and years of success that Dr. Green has set in motion. I couldn't be more excited about bringing these four finalists here to meet the board and the Friends University community,” Pitts said. "Because of an extremely thorough vetting process, the finalists in front of us have been highly successful, but more importantly, they each have shown how committed they would be to supporting the University’s mission.”

The Search Committee led a highly process-driven search, Pitts said. The position criteria served as the guiding principles for the interviews along with extensive reference and background reviews. Additionally, input from town hall meetings and open-forum sessions was considered. 

During the latter half of January, each finalist will spend two days on the University’s campus meeting with search committee members, trustees, faculty and staff, alumni advisory boards, and student government representatives.

“At this stage, we have four highly qualified, very experienced candidates who have been through an extensive process,” Pitts said. “Now we move into the phase of selecting the right match for who we are and where we want to go next.”

The Board of Trustees will make their final selection this spring, and the new leader of Friends University will start July 1. The individual who is chosen as Friends’ next president will succeed Dr. Green, who retires in June 2011 after a 20-year tenure.

For more information about the presidential search, visit