By DAVE GYMBURCH Staff writer
SUNYIT President Bjong Wolf Yeigh has decided to no longer seek to be president at Wichita State University, two days after discussing his candidacy in a public forum at the Kansas college’s campus.
Yeigh said "I withdrew from further consideration" for the Wichita State job Wednesday in his blog on the SUNYIT website.
"It was an honor to be nominated for this position, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to visit the campus as one of five finalists," said Yeigh, who spoke Monday in a one-hour campus forum. He noted "a good experience to learn more about an institution much larger and more complex than SUNYIT — one that is similar in some ways, but very different in others."
Yeigh added, "I hope to apply lessons learned in this experience to the challenges that lie ahead for SUNYIT. Together, we have made a real difference these past four years and we will continue our work with SUNYIT’s transformation." Yeigh, who has been SUNYIT president since July 2008, could not be reached for further comment.
During the Wichita State forum that included questions from faculty and students, Yeigh said his career plans do not include "moving for the sake of moving," but he does not set time periods for staying at a job. He said, "I like challenges," and "when the work is done" he seeks either "additional responsibilities" or to "move to the next challenge." Whether that involves three, four, or 10 years, he remarked, "I can’t tell you that."
Among other forum topics, Yeigh discussed changes in development and fundraising programs at SUNYIT, including efforts to seek more alumni involvement plus revamping the college foundation processes and bylaws. He called SUNYIT a "rather young" institution dating to 1966, and said its "culture of philanthropy" was "not deeply engrained."
Yeigh also discussed the importance of athletics for a college and for the community as a whole, adding "I take great pride in supporting student-athletes." He said he has "a little bit of a Division III mentality," looking at "student-athletes as opposed to athlete-students." SUNYIT has Division III programs, while Wichita State is Division I.