Goucher College has narrowed its search for a new president to three finalists -- an administrator at Southern Methodist University, a historian from Stanford University, and the longtime No. 2 official at Baltimore's Loyola College.
The next president will succeed Rhoda M. Dorsey, who will retire in May after 20 years running the liberal arts college in Towson.
The finalists are Judy Jolley Mohraz, associate provost for student academic affairs at Southern Methodist; Judith C. Brown, a Stanford history professor specializing in Renaissance Italy; and Thomas E. Scheye, the provost and acting president of Loyola.
Each of the finalists, culled from an original list of about 200 possible candidates, has gone through a round of meetings with campus groups in the last week. The board of trustees hopes to make its selection by the end of the month.
The gender of the new president appears not to be a crucial concern at Goucher, which admitted men in 1987 after a century of female-only education.
"I don't think it makes a difference to anyone whether it's a man or woman," said Goucher economics professor Katherine Henneberger. "We want a strong person who will move the college forward."
The next president will lead a college with a solid reputation but one that has had to strive to attract brighter students and increase enrollment, which is about 1,000.
Dr. Mohraz, reached by phone in Dallas, said Goucher has the potential to become "one of the really fine nationally recognized liberal arts colleges in the 21st century.
"Most college presidencies today are simply not worth the personal sacrifice," she said. "Goucher College is."
Dr. Mohraz, 50, has been Southern Methodist's associate provost since 1988, responsible for admissions, financial aid and various academic programs. Even as an administrator, she has continued to teach history, particularly the history of women in America, and she has been active in SMU's women's studies program. In 1979 she published a book chronicling the effects of educational reform on black children in the North in the early decades of the 20th century.
"Judy is approachable, efficient, tactful and full of integrity," said Caroline Brettell, coordinator of the Women's Studies Program. "This is not someone who gets in the middle of campus imbroglios."
Dr. Mohraz received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Baylor University and her doctorate in history from the University of Illinois.
At Stanford, Judy Brown is considered one of the stars of the history department as well as an active participant in academic issues.
'A fine scholar'
She served on a task force in the late 1980s that expanded the required curriculum for Stanford freshmen to include not just traditional thinkers such as Plato, Machiavelli and Marx, but also minority and female writers. She led a group that created a
flexible new benefits package for employees and served on a committee to deal with major budget cuts in 1991.
"She is a fine scholar and a fine university citizen," said Ewart Thomas, a psychology professor and former dean of humanities and sciences. "She is one of our leading historians, and I would hate to think that there is a danger we could lose her."
Dr. Brown received glowing reviews for her 1985 book, "Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy."
Dr. Brown, who was not available for comment, received her doctorate in Italian Renaissance history at Johns Hopkins University in 1977 and taught at the University of Maryland at College Park from 1976 to 1982.
Tom Scheye has been a leading figure down the road from Goucher, serving as Loyola's chief operating officer since 1986. For seven years before that, he was academic vice president.
For all those years, he was a hands-on administrator under the Rev. Joseph A. Sellinger, the charismatic president of Loyola who died in April.
Dr. Scheye has been acting president since then. The Rev. Harold E. Ridley, an English professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., will take over as Loyola president this summer.
Colleagues credit Dr. Scheye with much of Loyola's recent growth from a mostly local commuter school into a respected regional college.
"Clearly it would be a real loss for Loyola," said David Roswell, dean of arts and sciences. "He's very well-connected in the city and the state and the donor base, as it were."
He has written books on Shakespeare and playwright Tennessee Williams and has continued to teach courses in the English department.
Friends said Dr. Scheye did not apply for the Goucher job but was recruited. Dr. Scheye, 51, declined to comment.