Claremont Graduate University is ready to adapt to the
changing world of graduate education with help from Interim President Robert Schult, who will apply his business experience to the position.
On March 9, 2015, Schult was appointed Interim President of
Claremont Graduate University. His projected three-year term as president, which begins July 1, will replace that of current president Deborah Freund, who announced
in December that she would not be seeking a second term. Freund has served as president since November 2010.
Director of Media and Online Marketing Rod Leveque wrote in an email to TSL that the long term of Schult’s presidency “reflects our board of trustees’ confidence in his ability to lead the university. Because the university has a steady hand at the wheel, it has ample time to be thorough and deliberate in its search for the next president.”
Members of the CGU community are excited about Schult’s
appointment. Schult is the former President of Nestlé USA and has been a member
of the CGU Board of Trustees since late 2011. He recently served on the
Chairman of the Board’s Committee on Business and Finance.
“For the last 15 months or so he’s worked particularly
closely with me on a number of financial and strategic issues from his board
position,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Jacob Adams. “Bob actually
just fit exactly what we needed for the next few years.”
According to Adams, higher education is currently facing a
lot of changes and challenges. Universities face declining enrollments and
increased competition for federal research dollars and philanthropic
contributions. Adams says that Schult’s business acumen will help CGU navigate these
“He’s not the only business person who’s coming into
presidential roles right now, and I think we’ll probably see more of it in the
next few years,” Adams said.
The university recently decided upon a
new strategic direction for the next few years, according to Freund. Leveque wrote that the strategic direction “primarily involves reviewing the strengths of the academic programs to ensure they are meeting the needs of our students and identifying programs that are projected for future growth.”
Freund said that Schult could help the college implement the short-term goals of this strategic direction during his term and establish a long-term vision to set up a good foundation before the permanent president arrives.
Since making the choice to step down from her presidency, Freund
is looking forward to taking the next steps in her career. She
holds a Master of Public Health in
Medical Care Administration, an M.A. in applied economics, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan, with previous work in the administrations at Syracuse University and Indiana University.
Freund’s specialties lie in the intersection of healthcare and
economics, and she said that throughout her academic career she has focused on
keeping her studies interdisciplinary.
“When the opportunity to come to CGU came about, I was
thrilled because CGU is all about … working across the
disciplines, and I thought ‘aha! Now I can go to a place that understands who
I’ve been and how I see the world,’” Freund said.
After her presidency ends, Freund foresees herself either
continuing her administration career at an institution with undergraduate
students or going back to her academic studies on economics and health care.
Regarding his appointment, Schult said, “I’m extremely
pleased to be working alongside a talented group of people at CGU. Our skills
are different but very compatible. We will work hard to keep CGU a top university.”
The University is in the process of forming a search committee for a