966. A Day in the Life–What’s It Really Like to Be a University President?
Martha Saunders, PhD
“One of the most important turning points in my life happened when I was serving as dean of my university. Our president always took a sincere interest in the growth and development of his leadership staff. One day, after the other staff members had left the lunch room, he and I were having a final cup of coffee, and he said to me, ‘You know, Martha, we have been working together for quite a while now, and I want you to know that I believe you would make an excellent university president.’ I was quite taken aback as I’m sure he realized by the surprised look on my face. He went on to say. ‘Yes, you absolutely would, but you need to learn more of the skills you’ll need for that role and to do that you need to experience other university settings. I hate to lose you but I only want the best for you and your career.’ That was the most generous and timely advice anyone had ever given me. Six months later I accepted a position as provost at Columbus State University, and from there I continued on my journey to many more positions as president of several fine educational institutions.”
Martha Saunders is the sixth president of the University of West Florida. In her 30-plus years in higher education, Dr. Saunders has served in academic and leadership roles at universities in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin and Mississippi. Her area of academic expertise is in public relations and crisis communication for which she has won numerous awards.
Connecting With Martha Saunders, PhD
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