The SPJ had some one-to-one time with the two finalists selected for final interviews with the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors on May 4 in Baton Rouge. Dr. Chris Maggio and Dr. William Wainwright are the finalists in the running for the Presidency of Northwestern State University after a round of interviews with the NSU Search Committee April 27.
The SPJ asked the following questions to get to know the finalists a little bit better.
Q: How will you, as the new president, make sure more of NSU’s public and foundation dollars are spent with local vendors and not out of town and out of state?
Wainwright: I would lean on the university’s procurement policy, but at the end of the day it’s about the quality. When you look at the overall success and image of Natchitoches, it’s clear we have the quality locally to support our institution.
Maggio: On top of the relationships I have with the business and industry leaders in Natchitoches, I will strive to recruit the best and the brightest to NSU. The university will continue to partner with the community on projects and focus on creating an innovative student experience. It’s important to get the students involved in the local community.
What attracts students isn’t just NSU, but the locale and you’ll continue to see this collaboration between NSU and Natchitoches in the years to come.
Q: NSU and Natchitoches value preservation and progress. What’s your take on the balance of these two important aspects in our area?
Wainwright: When you look at the history of the university and the city, what’s been preserved to date is fundamental to the success of both. Ensuring students, faculty alum and external stakeholders understand the importance of preservation is key. This can be demonstrated through the curriculum, student life and civic responsibility.
Maggio: It’s so important that we continue to maintain our identity and our commitment to historical preservation. It’s important to find the balance where history meets progress. I can see University Parkway becoming an innovation corridor. It’s amazing the history Natchitoches has to offer and the programming NSU can provide. With ties to the community through the Natchitoches Northwestern Symphony Society, the Sports Recreation Center and beautification projects, NSU can bring its resources to aid the community in preservation.
Q: With the media interviews taking place in AA Fredericks, and with the College of Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) being such a large part of Northwestern, what’s the most creative thing you’ve ever done?
Wainwright: Although it shocked my wife, I handled the majority of the interior design when we opened a new STEM campus at the Northshore Technical Community College in February. From the stained glass, to the writeable walls, outdoor classrooms and creative spaces, it was one of the most creative endeavors I’ve participated in recently.
Maggio: The CAPA students have gotten me out of my comfort zone and I became part of a production for a cameo role in the performance of a skit from High School Musical during the Lady of the Bracelet Pageant.