Jim Newberry withdraws as candidate for Georgetown College president

Jim Newberry, who was mayor of Lexington from 2007 to 2010, was one of three finalists for president of Georgetown College.
Jim Newberry, who was mayor of Lexington from 2007 to 2010, was one of three finalists for president of Georgetown College. Lexington Herald-Leader

The search for a new president at Georgetown College was reset after two finalists, former Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry and Jason Rogers of Belmont University in Nashville, withdrew from consideration "for personal and professional reasons," the school announced Thursday.

Newberry, 56, said after an "ongoing assessment" he decided to take his name out of the running.

"The short of it is, I didn't feel it was right for me or the college right now," Newberry said. "It's a big job. It's a 24-7, 365-day-a-year job, and I had one of those not too long ago, and the time is just not right for me to do it at Georgetown."

Newberry said he will remain as vice president and general counsel at the college. "Of course, whenever a new president arrives, we'll have another conversation about that," Newberry said.

Newberry was elected Lexington mayor in 2006 and served through 2010. He became vice president and general counsel for Georgetown College a year ago.

Rogers, vice president for administration at Belmont, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The board did not hire a third finalist, Cheryl Kimberling, president of the Multicultural Alliance in Fort Worth, Texas.

As a result, the presidential search committee voted Thursday to renew the search immediately, with a second round of confidential interviews with leading existing applicants. A new schedule for campus visits will be set as soon as possible.

College spokesman Jim Allison said the board will probably go back to a short list of five contenders that had been winnowed from a larger list of 62 candidates.

In a statement, the college said: "The committee remains very committed to a high-integrity process which will assure a strong, well-qualified leader for Georgetown College, one who has a strong consensus of support from the overall college community, and one who can further enhance the college's outstanding reputation of high-quality programs and exceptional academics in a Christian environment."

The search committee said it "will do everything within its power to protect confidential information and the well-being of persons that have pursued or will pursue the position."

Georgetown College has an enrollment of 1,100 in its undergraduate program and about 500 in its graduate program in education.

The college is looking for a successor to William Crouch Jr., 61, who announced in October that he will retire in June. Crouch is scheduled to speak at the college's commencement Saturday.

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