Merodie Hancock, current president of SUNY Empire State College in New York, was elected as the fourth president for Thomas Edison State University by the institution's board of trustees, the university announced Wednesday.
Hancock will take over the position that was led by George Pruitt, who announced his intention to step down after serving as president for 35 years.
The nationwide search led by a committee of university trustees and other experts pulled 200 potential candidates that was narrowed down to 50 serious contenders before ultimately selecting Hancock.
With over 18,000 enrolled students, Thomas Edison State University is the third largest higher education institution in the state and specializes in providing education opportunities for older students. Hancock said the school’s mission was important to her.
“Thomas Edison State University is such a respected pillar among adult-serving institutions in the United States and has been at the forefront of offering degree pathways for busy, working adults since its inception in 1972,” said Hancock in a prepared statement. “I hold dear this mission and am honored to take on the presidency of such a pivotal university.”
Pruitt was not involved with the search but said he was “delighted by the outcome,” saying that Hancock’s previous experience was similar to TESU’s goals.
“Even though we’re a specialist institution, I’ve looked [at Empire State College] as a sister institution,” said Pruitt. “[We have] essentially the same exact mission, serving older self-directed adults.”
Hancock has been president of SUNY Empire State College since 2013. She was previously vice president for Central Michigan University Global Campus and served teaching and administrative positions for University of Maryland University College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.