Regents, search committee members react to presidential pick

New+President+Jay+Golden+speaks+to+sophomore+Drue+Owen%2C+a+student+studying+history+at+WSU%2C+after+his+public+address+on+Thursday%2C+Oct.+31+in+the+RSC.

Morgan Anderson

New President Jay Golden speaks to sophomore Drue Owen, a student studying history at WSU, after his public address on Thursday, Oct. 31 in the RSC.

The Kansas Board of Regents voted Thursday to name Jay Golden the 14th president of Wichita State University

A career engineer and researcher, Golden has worked in the private sector and various roles at The University of California-Santa Barbara, Arizona State University, Duke University — and most recently, as a vice chancellor at East Carolina University. 

Golden’s track record was one of the reasons KBOR identified him as the best choice for president. 

“I thought he hit all the buttons for me,” said Mark Hutton, a KBOR member and vice chair of the presidential search committee. “He had great academic pedigree, a degree from Cambridge, also had some industry experience.

“I just felt all around that he was just the right person for Wichita State.”

Hutton said he is excited to see how Golden will go about growing WSU’s main campus and uniting the university across its satellite locations. 

“I’m excited about his vision to expand the Innovation Campus, and especially to include the fine arts in that discussion,” Hutton said. “That’s something we heard loud and clear from faculty and students.”

Student Body President Kitrina Miller, one of two student members on the presidential search committee, said Golden was her favorite finalist for the job.

“Jay was my No. 1 pick from the candidates we had put forward, so I’m extremely happy,” Miller said. 

“He was really student-focused . . . That was really the No.1 thing I was looking for.”

PHOTOS: Jay Golden, new WSU president, makes first campus visit

Miller said Golden stood out from the crowd because he took matters into his own hands when pursuing the presidential position. 

“One thing that really stuck out to me was during his interviews, he shared that he came to the search firm (Wheless Partners),” she said. “The search firm didn’t come to him about this position. He really wanted to come here and he developed that passion for WSU.” 

KBOR Chair Shane Bangerter said Golden’s skill set stood out in his application. 

“His skill set was just a really good match for Wichita State,” Bangerter said. “His applied learning background, his engineering background, his people skills — I just think he’ll really be able to move Wichita State forward.

“And, as he mentioned in his speech, to diversify (Wichita State) even more, so that Wichita may be not just tied to one industry or two industries, but really broadening the scope.”

Jon Rolph, who represents Sedgwick County on KBOR, said he believes Golden has a grip on the changing higher education model.

“I know he has a real heart for accessibility to higher ed, an openness to how the higher education model is changing,” Rolph said. 

Miller said she hopes Golden will strive to create a more welcoming campus that better serves students.

I to grow this university, Innovation Campus. Making sure that, you know, students feel welcome and comfortable,” Miller said. “Whether that’s socioeconomic status or just diversity in general, but also the diverse skill set we provide to our students, increasing that.”