Carrier retires from NCV

March 16, 2005

Bulletin Staff Writer

Dr. Ronald Carrier, who is the architect of the proposed New College of Virginia, has stepped down as its director.

It is time for others to implement the college proposal, he stated in a press release issued Tuesday.

"Now that we have completed the conceptual stage, the new college needs someone who can live in Martinsville and be available to work closely with the New College Planning Commission. I am ready to retire again. It is now time for the commission to take our work as 'architects' and become 'builders' of the plan to implement the college," Carrier stated.

Carrier was hired by The Harvest Foundation in June to create a college after it issued a $50 million challenge to the state to open a college here in two years. He is 72.

Harvest Foundation Executive Director Harry Cerino said Tuesday that Carrier had told him that he intended to step down "about a month or so ago," and he offered recommendations for the transition. His retirement was effective Tuesday but he will continue to do consulting work on the college effort, Cerino said.

Moving to reaffirm the foundation's commitment to the college and to Carrier's proposed accelerated curriculum, the foundation has taken four steps: pushing back its deadline for the state to charter and fund a baccalaureate degree-granting college in the area from January 2006 to July 2007; creating a commission -- which Carrier referred to in the release -- to help implement the college; beginning a search for a new director to replace Carrier; and deciding that if the college becomes a reality, the foundation board will work to name it Carrier College in honor of the former president of James Madison University

"I am deeply grateful for the board's commitment to name the new college, when it comes into being, in my honor," Carrier stated in the release. "I was able to attend college only because my family lived near East Tennessee State University. The prospect of having a college named in my honor is humbling, yet exciting."

The New College Planning Commission announced Tuesday it will be an ongoing organization that will work with government, the private sector and the new director on establishing the college, Cerino said.

The commission will conduct deliberations and activities that "may include cooperating with any needs assessment undertaken by the Commonwealth of Virginia and engaging in negotiations and consultation with the Governor of Virginia, the Secretary of Education, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and other government and education officials," the release stated.

The commission also will have other duties, such as retaining advisers for the planning and implementation process. Cerino said duties could not be more specifically identified because the commission has not yet met.

One of the commission's first tasks will be to select the college's next director, Cerino said. Former Gov. Gerald Baliles, the commission's counselor and senior adviser, and Carrier are putting together a list of possible candidates, Cerino said, adding that he hopes to have someone hired within 30 days.

Although the particular attributes sought after in the director have not been spelled out, Cerino speculated that the director would be experienced in the field of higher education. It could be a former college professor, a lawyer, someone out of the upper echelons of government or who has worked with the formation of public policy, he added.

Preferably, the person would have experience with college accreditation and be willing to relocate to the area, Cerino said.

The foundation is not necessarily looking for this person to become the college's president, Cerino said, but to be the driving force who can take the move for a college to establishment.

To that end, the new director must buy into the New College model created by Carrier -- an accelerated degree program consisting of a 28-month schedule of 10-week quarters, Cerino said.

Cerino said he understands that any new person coming to a project would bring a new perspective and strengths. Therefore, the foundation would be open to changes in details of the Carrier plan. However, "if the person wanted to build a mini version of William and Mary, we probably wouldn't hire him," Cerino said.

Cerino said he and the foundation have not yet determined a salary for the position, but said to date the foundation has spent less than $1 million of its $2 million budget allocated for planning and development of the college, including salaries of the New College of Virginia staff.


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