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Presidential Search

On October 2, the Board of Trustees of Christian Brothers University began the search process for the 23rd president of CBU.

The search opened following the announcement by current president John Smarrelli of his intention to retire at the end of the current school year. Smarrelli has served 10 years as CBU's president and leaves a lasting legacy at CBU.

About the search:

Search Committee Executive Search Profile Search Firm FAQ Provide Feedback or Submit Questions

Presidential Search Timeline

Dates in bold indicate substantive engagement by the Presidential Search Committee

Phase I: Needs Assessment & Marketing

  • November 14-15, 2018
    Search team conducts the on-campus pre-search study; develops draft of the Executive Search Profile, advertisement, and advertising strategy
  • November 21, 2018
    Search team provides draft of profile to Presidential Search Committee (PSC) for their review
  • November 29, 2018
    PSC provides edited profile to Board of Trustees (or appointed representative) for final approval
  • November 30, 2018
    PSC Chair provides edited and final profile, advertisement, and timeline to search team
  • December 4, 2018
    Deadline for CHE hard copy advertisement
  • December 7, 2018
    Advertisements placed online; profile is posted to and to; search team executes recruitment strategy, including nominations and diversity outreach

Phase II: Recruitment Strategy & Candidate Management

  • December 7, 2018 - February 8, 2019
    Search team recruits qualified candidates; uploads candidate files to Client Resource Center (CRC)
  • January 28, 2019
    Presidential Search Committee (PSC) receives access to CRC; reviews candidate materials
  • February 8, 2019
    Due date for completed applications

Phase III: Selection & Evaluation

  • February 8-19, 2019
    Search team identifies top candidates and performs preliminary due diligence; candidate files are updated on CRC
  • February 20, 2019
    Search team presents candidate pool to PSC, which selects semi-finalists
  • March 8-9, 2019
    PSC conducts in-person semi-finalist interviews and selects finalists

Phase IV: Due Diligence & Campus Interviews

  • March 11-25, 2019
    Search team conducts intensive due diligence; finalist files are updated on CRC
  • Finalists interview on campus
    UPDATE: We will host each finalist candidate on campus for two (2) days to meet with various constituencies on these dates:
    • April 1-2, 2019
    • April 4-5, 2019
    • April 8-9, 2019
    • April 10-11, 2019
        • President’s Cabinet: 8:00-9:00 a.m.
        • Administrators/Staff Open Forum: 9:15-10:15 a.m. in the University Theater
        • Student Open Forum: 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the University Theater
        • Lunch with President: 11:45-12:45 p.m.
        • Faculty Open Forum: 1:00-2:00 p.m. in the University Theater
        • Campus Tour: 2:15-3:15 p.m.
        • De La Salle Brothers Leadership: 3:30-4:30 p.m.
        • Tour of Memphis: 4:45-6:15 p.m.
        • Dinner & Conversation with Board of Trustees: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
        • Board of Trustees: 8:00-9:00 a.m.
        • Conversations w/ Individual Cabinet Members (if candidate requests): 9:15-10:15 a.m.
        • Student Open Forum: 10:30-11:30 a.m. in the University Theater
        • Lunch with Alumni/Community Leadership: 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
        • Faculty Open Forum: 1:00-2:00 p.m. in the University Theater
        • Administrators/Staff Open Forum: 2:15-3:15 p.m. in the University Theater
        • Search Committee: 3:30-4:30 p.m.
        • Exit Interview with Board Chair and/or Search Committee Chair: 4:30-5:00 p.m.
      • Click here for a printabel PDF schedule

Phase V: Appointment & Closure

  • April 10, 2019
    Search team meets with PSC to review final due diligence and additional information; assists in compiling final report to Board of Trustees
  • April 11, 2019 (or TBD)
    Board of Trustees elects the 23rd President of Christian Brothers University
  • June 1, 2019 (or TBD)
    The 23rd President of Christian Brothers University assumes office

Letter to the CBU Community

Dear Members of the CBU Community:

[In October,] the Board of Trustees commenced the search for the 23rd president of Christian Brothers University (CBU).

This search will be grounded in and framed by our community’s Lasallian-based core principles of faith in the presence of God; respect for all persons; inclusive community; quality education; and concern for the poor and social justice. We seek your input regarding this important step to ensure CBU’s future success, and we welcome questions you may have related to the search process.

To participate, we invite you to provide input via the confidential form on this website. This form gives you the opportunity to communicate your expectations and aspirations for what the next president of CBU should accomplish, what you see as principal challenges, the opportunities facing our University, and any specific attributes and experiences that you believe our next leader should possess. The Search Committee will review input received anonymously via the Search website and treat it as confidential communication.

The Board recognizes that selecting our next president is not only historic and momentous, but also its solemn fiduciary obligation. This is an enormous moment for the future of our University and we commit to this undertaking with the utmost faith, trust, confidence and transparency. We look forward to receiving your input.


John Mitchell Graves
Presidential Search Committee Chair, CBU Board of Trustees