New Presidents Program 1/3/2023 1/3/2023 1/3/20231/4/20231/4/20231/4/2023 Hilton San Francisco Union Square San Francisco, California

About the New Presidents Program

Since 1989, more than 1,000 new presidents have participated in CIC’s New Presidents Program, which focuses exclusively on issues relevant to independent college and university leaders, practical advice that can be readily implemented, and building community with campus CEOs who share similar circumstances.

The NPP provides the need to know tools and wise counsel that keep a young presidency on a smooth course. The agenda focuses on the practical needs and resources to help participants avoid early pitfalls while capitalizing on the opportunities that the first year represents. Annually refreshed, topics commonly include innovative and strategic leadership, financial fundamentals and strategies, creating an engaged and inclusive environment, enrollment and marketing, board relations, institutional advancement, perspectives on critical leadership issues, and “You got the job, now what?” and “I wish I had known” reflections. Ample opportunities for informal conversations allow participants to get to know each other and the more seasoned presidents who serve as faculty to build a network of peers.

Participants point to these features as particularly valuable:
  • Presenters are current or recently retired CIC presidents, spouses, or partners who understand the needs of their new colleagues.
  • Professional networks are created as participants build relationships with colleagues who often continue to serve as informal advisors.
  • NPP is a rewarding investment of time and money. The program makes efficient use of time and represents excellent value.
  • Trusting friendships are established among participants providing confidential support and counsel on the most sensitive and consequential issues.
Mary Pat Seurkamp, CIC senior advisor, who for 15 years served as president of Notre Dame of Maryland University, directs CIC’s New Presidents Program.

About the Spouses and Partners of New Presidents Program

Few spouses or partners of college presidents begin their new roles with a job description or even with any expectations articulated by the myriad constituencies with whom they will interact. The role is unique to each individual and each institution, and there is no guidebook for the uninitiated. The Spouses and Partners of New Presidents Program is designed to:

  • Enhance understanding of the role;
  • Engage fellowship among those new to the role; and
  • Equip participants with tools for success.

Participants create networks of new colleagues, confidants, and friends who share an understanding of the unique role of presidential spouse/partner and who can provide mutual support as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of their new position. An interactive, stimulating, informative, and entertaining program has been developed by experienced presidential spouses. Participants also benefit from additional joint sessions with the New Presidents Program that address topics of mutual interest to presidents and their spouses or partners.

Preliminary 2023 Agendas


Welcoming Remarks

Mary Pat Seurkamp, Senior Advisor and Director, CIC New Presidents Program, and President Emerita, Notre Dame of Maryland University

Making Connections

Mary-Beth A. Cooper, President, Springfield College

Innovative and Strategic Leadership for the Current Environment

Martin Roth, President, University of Charleston
Lori E. Varlotta, President, California Lutheran University

The President and Institutional Advancement

Amy C. Novak, President, St. Ambrose University
Paul C. Pribbenow, President, Augsburg University

Creating an Engaged and Inclusive Environment

Daniel G. Lugo, President, Queens University of Charlotte
Timothy E. Trainor, President, Mount St. Mary’s University (MD)
Sherry L. Turner, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Chief Diversity Officer, Rhodes College

Working with the Board—Basics and Beyond

Brian J. Bruess, President, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University
Elizabeth J. Stroble, Chancellor, Webster University

I Wish I Had Known What I Know Now

Tracy Y. Espy, President, Mitchell College
Kathy Wilson Humphrey, President, Carlow University

Financial Fundamentals, Benchmarking, and Strategies

Julee Gard, Vice President for Administration and Finance, University of St. Francis (IL)
Arvid C. Johnson, President, University of St. Francis (IL)

Enrollment, Marketing, and Today’s Students: Getting Them and Keeping Them

Chris E. Domes, President, Neumann University

Perspectives on Critical Leadership Issues

Debbie Cottrell, President, Texas Lutheran University
Nayef H. Samhat, President, Wofford College
Carmen J. Walters, President, Tougaloo College



Welcome: Arvid C. Johnson, President, University of St. Francis (IL) and Chair, CIC New Presidents Program Advisory Committee

Reception and Dinner

Hosts: Randy Richardson, Presidential Spouse, Westminster College (PA) and Carmen J. Walters, President, Tougaloo College
Remarks: Marjorie Hass, President, CIC

You Got the Job, Now What?

Mary-Beth A. Cooper, President, Springfield College


Planning Team

Connie Currier Holoman, Senior Advisor, Presidential Spouses and Partners Program, CIC; and Presidential Spouse, Centenary College of Louisiana
Lynne C. Joyce, Presidential Spouse, Retired, Brevard College (NC), Ripon College (WI), and Union College (KY); and Owner, Leadership First Co., LLC
Randy Richardson, Presidential Spouse, Faculty and Director of the Speech and Debate Program, School of Communication, Westminster College (PA)
Katina Semien Smothers, Esq., Presidential Spouse, Philander Smith College (AR); and Director, Governor’s Office of Community Programs (LA)

Session Topics

Day 1: Exploration

  • Welcome and roadmap
  • Making connections
  • Called?/Called upon?/Put upon?
  • Finding your sweet spot as a presidential spouse/partner
  • On the spot survey

Day 2: Evolution

  • They said what?
  • Navigating change
  • Revolving roundtables
  • Making the role work for you: Plan for success
  • Open mic
  • Reflections on the program

Registration and Hotel Information

Dates: January 3–4, 2023 (just prior to CIC’s January 4–7, 2023 Presidents Institute)

Registration opens: August 25, 2022
Registration deadline: December 1, 2022

Location: Hilton San Francisco Union Square, California

Registration fee: $440 for presidents, $335 for spouses and partners (includes all meals and session materials)
Hotel room rate: $179 single/double per night (includes guest room Wi-Fi and complimentary use of the hotel’s fitness center)

PLEASE NOTE: First, register for the Presidents Institute and include the New Presidents Program as a session. An email will then be sent to the person completing the registration which includes hotel reservation details and a code to make a room reservation at the CIC discounted rate.

Located in the heart of vibrant Union Square, the four-star Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel (333 O’Farrell Street) is surrounded by world-class dining options, museums, and shopping. Resort-like hotel amenities include on-site restaurants, a top-floor Cityscape lounge with stunning views, a year-round outdoor swimming pool and a health club and fitness center. The famous San Francisco Cable Car is a three-minute walk away; the Moscone Convention Center is a 12-minute walk away, and San Francisco City Center is just a 20-minute walk from the hotel.

For additional information about the hotel, travel arrangements, and the Presidents Institute program, please visit the Institute website.

For assistance, please contact CIC at or (202) 466-7230.


David A. Thomas headshotThe New Presidents Program provided me with the forum to engage and learn from peers who have experienced the triumphs and obstacles inherent in the presidency. Those insights have informed my strategic approach to address the multilayered opportunities and challenges I’ve encountered in my first four years at Morehouse College. I’d recommend NPP to any new president looking to gain knowledge and build relationships with exceptional higher education leaders across the nation.”
—David A. Thomas, President, Morehouse College (GA)

Katie Conboy headshotIt would be hard to enumerate all the benefits of the New Presidents Program. At a formative time in my presidency, I was able to engage with new and seasoned presidents around critically important topics and to raise questions and concerns in a supportive context. Many of the people I met through the program remain friends and trusted advisors. CIC has designed an experience that offers both useful tools for action and inspiring exemplars of presidential leadership.”
—Katie Conboy, President, Saint Mary’s College (IN)

Jorge G. Gonzalez headshotA new presidency makes many demands—intellectual, professional, personal, social, and even physical. CIC’s NPP engages the whole person: As I started out, I found it inspiring, assuring, and helpful beyond measure. The spouses/partners program was also a fantastic opportunity.”
—Jorge G. Gonzalez, President, Kalamazoo College (MI)

Katina Semien Smothers headshotCIC’s Program for Presidential Spouses and Partners was a game-changer. The information gleaned during the workshops, the intimate discussions regarding ever-changing responsibilities, and the friendships formed with program participants from across the country have proven to be invaluable.  I am honored and excited to be participating as a facilitator in the 2023 program.”
—Katina Semien Smothers, Esq, Presidential Spouse, Philander Smith College (AR)

David Colquhoun headshotCIC’s Program for Spouses and Partners of New Presidents fundamentally changed how I see my role. As a spouse with a demanding career, I believed that my role was very limited, but the program allowed me to identify specific areas where I could bring value and contribute to my partner’s success.  I left the program not just with more information, but a concrete plan and a network of resources to help me succeed.”
—David Colquhoun, Presidential Spouse, McDaniel College (MD); and Biologics/Advanced Workflows Specialist, Mid-Atlantic and Tristate Regions