Jane Fernandes to succeed Chabotar

After a week of deliberations, this Monday the board of trustees selected Jane Fernandes as the College’s ninth president, making her the first female ever to serve in the role.

As her first step, Fernandes is set on getting to know not only the campus community, but also the Greensboro community.

“I will need to build relationships with the business community and create friends of the college,” said Fernandes in a phone interview. Born deaf, Fernandes is able to communicate by phone using an interpreter and special software that turns spoken words into text.

Gathering the perspectives of everyone on campus, whether students, faculty or staff, tops Fernandes’ to-do agenda.

Though she will need to become intimately involved with Guilford, she said that her learning curve would take no longer than “two months to a year.”

“Some decisions I may have to make right away,” she said. “Others will come after hearing a full range of perspectives. Hearing those helps us get to a place where a solution can be found.”

Lionel C. Johnson, a trustee and parent of two Guilford graduates, said that after the lengthy deliberations, the board chose the right candidate.

“The board wanted the next leader to bring Guilford into the 21st century in a way that represents the ethos of our college,” says Johnson. “Jane will challenge students, faculty and staff to reach that goal.”

Deena Zaru ‘10 agrees with Johnson.

“I’m very proud of Guilford for selecting its first woman as president,” Zaru said. “As a Guilford alum, I value Guilford for being a place where people with diverse skills can succeed, because the College is guided by the belief that the institution should accommodate community members and nurture them.

“Selecting Jane Fernandes as president is the ultimate living testimony to this belief.”

Samir Hazboun, senior and president of Community Senate, is optimistic about Fernandes’ arrival.

“Seeing the elders in this community reenergized was all I needed to be very excited about Jane coming to Guilford,” he said.