Becker College Candidates for President Announced

Published on Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Today, Frances Polito, chair of the Becker College President Search Committee, announced the four individuals selected as finalists in the search for the next president of the college. 

The Search Committee reviewed the curriculum vitae and other background materials of more than 100 candidates and narrowed that group to eight semi-finalists who were interviewed in person by the Committee.  Following those in-person interviews, the Search Committee selected four finalists to meet with the entire Becker College community. The four finalists are:

Joseph W. Bascuas, Ph.D.: For the past eighteen months Mr. Bascuas has served as interim president of Becker College. Before coming to Becker, he was president of Medaille College in Buffalo, NY for four and one-half years, where he led the community in strategic planning initiatives, helped grow revenues significantly, oversaw a nearly 33% increase in overall enrollment, and an increase in the quality of incoming student classes.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Bascuas was a university faculty member in psychology and a practicing clinical psychologist.  Later he was a senior administrator for the Argosy Education Group for twelve years, including serving as the founding president of the Atlanta campus of Argosy University.

He earned his undergraduate degree at LaSalle University in Philadelphia and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Temple University, also in Philadelphia.

Philip A. Conroy, Jr: Mr. Conroy has served as a senior administrator at Mt. Ida College in Newton, Mass. for the last twelve years, initially as vice president for institutional advancement and, since 2003, as vice president for enrollment management and marketing.  Mt. Ida has experienced solid growth under his leadership, including increases in new enrollments, retention and graduation rates resulting in significant additions to net revenue.  He developed and teaches in Mt Ida’s innovative First Year Experience program.

Mr. Conroy’s 30-year higher education career has been in Massachusetts-based institutions, starting in alumni relations and development.  He has a strong background in data-driven strategic planning and building partnerships in the business community.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Bridgewater State University and a master’s degree from Rhode Island College.  He has finished his dissertation and anticipates being awarded his doctorate this academic year from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Kenneth L. Hoyt, Ph.D.: Mr. Hoyt is the former president of Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey. Centenary College is strongly career oriented, and during his eight years as president, it experienced growth in all parts of the student body: traditional on-campus undergraduates, non-traditional adult learners, and a newer online effort.  He is currently president of Higher Education Practice, LLC, a firm that consults with colleges and universities on strategic issues.

During sixteen years as president of the Ohio Federation of Independent Colleges, Mr. Hoyt engaged deeply with improving the effectiveness of the functional offices of his member institutions.

Mr. Hoyt earned his undergraduate degree from Baldwin-Wallace College, his master’s from Ohio State University and his Ph.D. from Ohio University.

Robert Johnson, Ph.D.: Mr. Johnson is senior vice president at Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio, where he has responsibility for all internal operations including marketing, enrollment management, student and academic support services, and the development and growth of three satellite campuses with enrollment of 3,000 and more than 200 full-time and part-time faculty.  He also leads strategic partnerships and linkages in the community, along with much of the grant-based work of the institution.

Mr. Johnson has broad experience at very different types of colleges and universities, large and small, public and private.  In each case he was responsible for marketing the institution, focusing its message, and growing enrollment.  He has also been an active leader in his communities, serving on numerous nonprofit and community-based boards in leadership roles in policy, strategic planning, and fund raising. 

Mr. Johnson earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Morehouse College in Atlanta, a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati, and a Ph.D. from TUI University, Cyprus, Calif. 

“I think it is important to note that all four finalists not only have strong academic and administrative backgrounds, but are committed to student success and a career-focused education,” said Polito. “It will be important for the next president of Becker College to continue to strengthen the quality of student learning and to develop a focused plan for the future. I am delighted with the high caliber of these four finalists and I am confident that the Becker community will be well served by whichever individual is chosen by the Board to be the college’s next president.”

Each of the candidates will visit the Becker campuses in Leicester and Worcester, Mass. during the weeks of January 25 and February 1.  The candidates will meet with students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and local community leaders.  There will also be opportunities for the public to meet the finalists. Everyone who meets with the finalists will be asked to complete a candidate evaluation form that will be reviewed by the Search Committee.

The finalists’ visits will take place on the following dates:
January 25-26  Philip Conroy
January 27-28  Joseph Bascuas
February 1-2    Robert Johnson
February 3-4    Kenneth Hoyt

The candidates’ curriculum vitae and details of their campus visits can be found on the Becker College website,, by clicking on “President Search.”

After the on-campus visits, the Search Committee, comprised of representatives from the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community, will make recommendations to the members of the Board of Trustees.

“We believe each of these individuals shares our vision and has the potential to lead Becker College,” said Polito, former vice-chair of the Board and a Becker alumna. “All four candidates have outstanding credentials and have impressed the members of the Search Committee with their professional and personal skills.” The Board is expected to announce a new president prior to Commencement on May 8, 2010.

The search for a new president began after President Kenneth W. Zirkle, Ed.D., the ninth president in the college’s history, left to take the position of president at Post University, Waterbury, Conn.