History professor Martha Donkor was being patient, letting the crowd slim down just a bit before she stepped in to meet Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s new leader — but, she said, she liked what she’d been seeing from across the room.
“She seems to be a very nice person,” Donkor said as, a short distance away, President Julie E. Wollman offered greetings to an extended-out-the-door line of university officials, faculty, staff, students and community members during a public meet-and-greet event Tuesday.
“Hopefully,” Donkor said with a smile, “what we see is what we get.”
Sitting down for a visit with Donkor after meeting Wollman, philosophy professor Steve Sullivan seemed confident that’ll be the case with EUP’s 17th — and first female — president, who officially began her duties at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education university late last week.
“She looks you right in the eye and talks to you,” he said. “She seems to have the right personality for the job.”
Sullivan also said he “found it reassuring” to read a recent quote from Wollman indicating “she hopes to retire here. ...That’s sending us a very strong message that she has long-term plans here.”
Wollman, who comes to EUP after most recently serving as vice president for academic affairs at Boston’s Wheelock College, succeeds Jeremy Brown, who left the university in June 2011 after five years there to become president of Dowling College on Long Island (James Moran, PASSHE’s vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, served as interim president). Wollman was officially selected for the position in December last year, and first met with the university community and the public in February.
At that time, Wollman said she’d already gained — along with several plaid items — a “deep respect for the university, its culture, its heritage — and, especially, its people.”
Four months and a couple of very recent move-ins (at her new home and her new office) later, “I’m feeling very comfortable,” Wollman said during a brief interview Tuesday.
But from her perspective, she added, “things never get that settled. I like things busy. That’s why I like this job.”
And the primary objective of that job, Wollman said, is providing leadership that provides for “excellence in all we do” as northwestern Pennsylvania’s largest public institution of higher learning, “and getting the word out beyond the local region — and in the local region as well — about the quality here.”
Ryan Smith can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at email@example.com.