University Business September 2017 - 34

INSIDE LOOK:

PRESIDENTS'
RESIDENCES
T

heir form and function may vary, but there's one trait
nearly every president's residence has in common: It's
much more than just a home.
"The residence is a tool," says Dennis Barden, a senior partner at executive search firm Wiff/Kieffer. Colleges prefer to keep
their leaders on or near campus "and essentially on call 24/7,"
adds Barden, who has played a central role in almost 400 searches,
many of them in higher ed. The homes are used for institutional
purposes and rituals, especially related to alumni relations and development. "An invitation to a president's home connotes an intimacy and importance with which most people resonate," he says.
In Barden's experience, a president's home is often seen as an
attractive part of the package-yet it's not "primarily a perk," he
says. "I don't know that most presidents, if given their druthers,
would choose to live in an even more obvious fishbowl than that
in which their position already puts them."
A well-maintained house "can be a real attraction in recruiting,"
says Jessica Kozloff, president and senior consultant at Academic
Search and president emerita of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. "Unfortunately, it can also present real issues if it hasn't
been updated and a new president gets blamed for the costs."
What gets updated and when
Most institutions aim to time renovations with a leadership transition. At Elon University in North Carolina, 19-year-president
Leo Lambert moved out of Maynard House this spring to prep for
a new president's January 2018 move-in. "The renovation of pres-

idential homes can be a lightning rod for controversy," Lambert
says. The timing made it clear that "the trustees were in charge of
the renovation and would review all expenses, to avoid putting a
new president in an awkward situation," he adds.
With 3,000 guests hosted in a typical year, Maynard House
needed updated furniture in its public areas, a new kitchen and
bathroom renovations, Lambert says.
Kozloff recommends any renovations begin immediately after
the outgoing president announces an impending departure. "This
protects the new president to a large extent from the inevitable
criticism that he or she 'demanded' the renovation," she says.
Common updates involve opening up space to accommodate
larger events and modernizing the kitchen for efficiency and elegance. The greening of presidents' homes-such as with energyefficient windows and with solar panels-is another trend.
After renovations, colleges will typically provide a modest budget for the new president to make cosmetic changes, Barden adds.
At many of these homes, the separation of private and public
areas is more pronounced today-mainly for enhanced security.
Tanger House at Millersville University of Pennsylvania had
its last remodel in 1999, but each year more cameras are added
and a large fence was recently built around the property.
Barden believes institutions are both proactive about security
and responsive to requests for enhanced security from the president and family. Such upgrades, he says, are "a work in constant
progress" rather than the sort of capital improvement that goes
along with moving a new president in.

MORE ONLINE
UBmag.me/presres
Slideshow featuring additional
presidents' houses
34 | September 2017

Making these
official houses a
campus centerpiece

UBmag.me/presres
www.universitybusiness.com


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University Business September 2017 - Intro LOC
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