President Les Wong’s departure from NMU, though sudden and abrupt, was marked with a heartfelt email to students describing how hard the decision to leave NMU for another position at San Francisco State University was for him.
The students of NMU have benefited from Wong’s many innovations, and he will be missed.
Whether it was the informal chats in the Starbucks lounge or his attendance at many of the on-campus events, his absence will be noticeable come next fall.
During his eight years as NMU president, Les Wong established the Road Map to 2015, which spurred the creation of the WiMAX network.
This award-winning innovation was recognized by President Obama, who came to speak about technological achievement at NMU in 2011.
Les Wong has done well by the students of NMU.
His replacement, interim President David Haynes, was announced amidst controversy on May 10, the same day that Les Wong notified students he would be leaving for his position at SFSU.
According to a press release from NMU, Haynes has been professionally affiliated with NMU for 27 years in various capacities.
Haynes has served as an adviser to past presidents; he has been an associate professor of political science and public administration for six years; he directs the Master of the Public Administration; and he is co-director of the NMU Center for Rural Community and Economic Development.
In addition to these positions, Haynes has worked in the political realm as well.
Haynes was a lobbyist for NMU and Steelcase, but ended his lobbyist career before he was appointed interim president.
Haynes has a bachelors degree from NMU and a juris doctorate from the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law. He is the first alumni to hold the position of interim president at NMU.
While Haynes has been involved in university affairs, that doesn’t mean he will be an exemplary leader.
Two members of NMU’s Board of Trustees seemed to think that Haynes wasn’t the appropriate choice because of his affiliation with Steelcase, a company that has contracts with NMU; the chair you’re sitting in is, more than likely, made by Steelcase.
It’s worth mentioning that his wife was recently promoted, making her the vice president of NMU. This occurred a week before his appointment as interim president.
It is hard to say whether or not David Haynes will be an effective leader, but NMU cannot go without someone working in an executive capacity.
The swift appointment of an interim president isn’t unusual; the university does need someone at the helm to make sure that we are still on the Road Map to 2015.
The appointment of an interim president is appropriate, but the candidate must prove that he was the correct choice for the job.
The North Wind Staff welcomes David Haynes with a feeling of optimism for the future of the university. Due to the controversy Haynes found himself in during his appointment, he will have to work that much harder to establish our trust.