NORTH ANDOVER — Christopher Hopey, a vice president and dean at Northeastern University in Boston, will become the next president of 2,000-student Merrimack College.
Laurence Demers, chairman of Merrimack's board of trustees, confirmed yesterday that the trustees ended a two-year national search by voting unanimously to hire Hopey, who will begin at Merrimack on July 1.
He will be on the campus of the Catholic college next week to meet with students and faculty.
Hopey, of Nashua, N.H., will succeed Ronald Champagne, who has been president for the two years while the college looked for a permanent president.
Champagne signed on for a two-year term as president in 2008 after then President Richard Santagati retired after 14 years.
Demers said the national search attracted 75 candidates. Of the 75, the 16-member search committee selected nine candidates to be interviewed in Boston. Four were then invited to the North Andover campus for a second interview, and of that four, two finalists were selected.
The search committee consisted of representatives of the faculty, administration, trustees, students and alumni.
Hopey arrived at Northeastern in 2003.
He is the dean of the College of Professional Studies and the vice president of the Division of Professional and Continuing Education.
Demers pointed to Hopey's experience in faculty affairs, academic planning, enrollment planning and fundraising in higher education as the reasons why he was chosen.
In his resume, Hopey said he successfully merged the failing School of Education, a program that offered graduate education to recent college graduates and working professionals, into the College of Professional Studies.
"He took a program at Northeastern that was failing and turned it around," Demers said. "He is going to bring energy and creativity to the position from his experience at Northeastern."
According to his resume, Hopey manages 60 full-time faculty, 175 administrators and 700 part-time and adjunct faculty.
Before that he was a vice dean at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania from 2001 to 2003.
Hopey has a doctorate in higher education management from Penn and a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in public administration from Northeastern.
His research focus has been in adult learning and higher education, according to a statement from the college.
He is also the author of numerous journal articles and a frequent speaker at national conferences.
"I am honored to be selected as the seventh President of Merrimack College," said Hopey in a prepared statement. "... (T)he academic excellence of its faculty and Merrimack's thriving student and alumni communities make the College well positioned for future growth with academic excellence and distinction."
"We are very excited to have Dr. Hopey," said Demers. "He will bring a new level of creativity to the position and will take Merrimack to the next level."
He said it was worth the two-year wait to fill the position and said he was thankful for Champagne's service during that time.
"He stabilized the college, giving the trustees more time for an extensive search," Demers said. "By waiting two years, the quality of candidates improved considerably."
Join the discussion. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.