New Presidents Program

About the Program

CIC’s New Presidents Program provides the “need to know” tools and the counsel that will keep a young presidency on a smooth course. The agenda includes—among other topics—sessions on enrollment and marketing, financial fundamentals, perspectives on critical leadership, board relations, institutional advancement, and strategic innovation. The presenters are experienced CIC presidents, many of whom are alumni of the program. Built into the program also are ample informal opportunities for conversations, about institutional mission and culture or work-life balance, to get to know others who are new to office well. A program for spouses and partners of recently appointed presidents runs concurrently.

View the 2020 New Presidents Program on the Presidents Institute site.
New college and university presidents typically have substantial background in only some of the key facets of presidential responsibility. The 24/7 nature of the position, however, offers little opportunity to expand in a leisurely manner preexisting expertise. Meanwhile, the first months in the position are both energizing and overwhelming; early opportunities for significant achievement exist, but early missteps also can threaten to derail long-term success.
CIC’s New Presidents Program—the oldest of the programs serving new chief executives—focuses on the practical needs and concerns of the newly elected leaders of independent colleges and universities. Since 1989, nearly 1,000 new presidents have benefited from the program. They often point to these features of the program as particularly helpful:
  • All presentations are made by current or recently retired CIC presidents who understand the specific needs of new independent college and university presidents and their spouses and partners. And presenters remain available for subsequent conversations throughout the Presidents Institute and often beyond.
  • The program is intensive and makes efficient use of a new president’s time. Participants take home advice that can be readily implemented.
  • The practical focus is distinct from and complements other programs for new presidents, such as Harvard University’s. The program focuses exclusively on issues relevant to new presidents who lead independent colleges and universities.
  • Each participant is supported by a seasoned presidential colleague, who participates in the program and often continues to serve as an informal advisor, to help new presidents avoid pitfalls while capitalizing on the opportunities that the first year represents.
  • The program, subsidized by CIC, represents excellent financial value.
  • The friendships created among the participants often form the basis for a professional network of colleagues with whom new presidents and their spouses or partners can confer about sensitive campus issues over many years.
Mary Pat Seurkamp, CIC senior advisor, who recently completed 15 years of service as president of Notre Dame of Maryland University, directs CIC’s New Presidents Program.

Spouses and Partners of New Presidents

CIC offers a concurrent program for spouses and partners of new presidents. The program, led by experienced spouses, acknowledges that presidential spouses and partners serve in a variety of capacities within and outside their institution. Some will continue employment in professions away from campus while others will not. The program encourages spouses and partners to network with others who are new to the role and to consider, intentionally, how to define the role to fit themselves and their individual situations.


The CIC New Presidents Program offers a forum for frank conversation about the joys and challenges of the presidency. I appreciated the chance to learn from more experienced presidents and the focus on getting started on firm footing.”
—Marjorie Hass, President, Austin College

The program for spouses and partners of new presidents conveyed useful information from experienced perspectives. The readings were thoughtfully collected, and the discussions were candid. The facilitators shared their vast knowledge with humor and a contagious optimism. I am thankful to CIC for equipping me for the challenges of my new role and for introducing me to peers who became friends.”
—Cayce McCormick, Presidential Spouse, Schreiner University

The New Presidents Program prepared me to serve my campus and community more confidently. I learned strategies to manage my institution, established relationships and partnerships, discovered resources to shore up my deficiencies and, liberatingly, was reminded of my existing strengths on which to build.”
—Logan C. Hampton, President, Lane College

Registration Information

​The New Presidents Program will take place January 3–4, 2020, just prior to the January 4–7 CIC Presidents Institute, at the JW Marriott in Marco Island, Florida. For additional information about the program, hotel, and travel arrangements please visit the Institute website.

The registration fees for the New Presidents Program are $415 for presidents and $315 for spouses and partners. The registration fees for the Presidents Institute are $895/$545 for CIC presidents/spouses and partners, and $1,190/$775 for nonmember presidents/spouses and partners. The fees include all meals and session materials.

Registration opened in early August 2019; participants are urged to register online. The registration deadline is December 2, 2019. Sherita Ashmon, CIC conference manager ( or 202-466-7230), will gladly assist with registration or logistical questions.