Geoffrey Mearns at the podium in Sursa Hall

Mearns Named Ball State University President

Trustees select Geoffrey Mearns as the 17th president of Ball State University.

Meet Our Incoming President

Search Overview

A 16-member presidential search committee, in partnership with the firm Witt/Kieffer, is charged with conducting a comprehensive and inclusive search for Ball State’s 17th president.

The committee will be led by Trustee Matt Momper and includes:

  • Charlene Alexander, professor of counseling psychology and faculty athletic representative, associate provost for diversity, director of the Office of Institutional Diversity
  • Kay Bales, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services and dean of students
  • Andy Beane, associate professor of art
  • Jennifer Bott, dean of the Miller College of Business and professor of management
  • Thomas C. Bracken, trustee
  • E. Renae Conley, trustee
  • Mark Ervin, Muncie-Delaware Chamber of Commerce board member
  • Sali Falling, vice president and general counsel
  • Hank Gerhart, statistical data asset control specialist at University Libraries
  • Richard Hall, trustee
  • Amy Harden, associate professor of family and consumer sciences
  • Jeff Kingsbury, alumnus
  • Cherí O’Neill, president and CEO of the Ball State University Foundation
  • Jerri Reynolds, custodian
  • James Wells, 2016-17 president of the Student Government Association

Presidential Search Update

Nov. 6, 2016

Dear Ball State Family,

On behalf of the 16 members of the Ball State Presidential Search Committee, I am pleased to update you on the significant progress we have made this fall.

As I reported in August, the first phase of the committee's work included receiving input from Ball State community members, prioritizing presidential qualifications, and creating the University President Leadership Profile (available on the Presidential Search website here). During this time, John Thornburgh, senior partner from the national search firm Witt Kieffer, held preliminary discussions with the many strong candidates who were expressing interest in Ball State.

This fall, the second phase of the committee's work has focused on diligently examining the applications of the deep pool of candidates who emerged from the phase one screening process. Narrowing this pool has been a very challenging task indeed. We have been excited and encouraged by both the candidates' qualifications and interest in Ball State. For example, our reputation as a university of national importance has attracted applications from sitting presidents and provosts at other fine universities.

Going forward, the committee will now embark on the third and final phase of our work and begin interviewing the top candidates.

Throughout this process, I have been impressed by the faculty, students, alumni, staff, administrators, and community members on our committee. They have dedicated themselves fully to their responsibilities. Our meetings are characterized by extensive interaction and candid exchange of views. It is an awesome group who reflect both the spirit and know-how that is Ball State.

In sum, we are right on track in the search process. We have great confidence that our search will bring an exceptional leader to Ball State. Thank you for all you are doing to continue to contribute to our university in service to our students, the Muncie community, and Indiana.


Matt Momper, '83
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Assistant Secretary, Board of Trustees
Ball State University

Presidential Search Update

Aug. 22, 2016

Dear Ball State family,

With students arriving last week and classes commencing this week, Muncie is alive with the energy of the start of a new academic year. While summer can be a slower time for some on campus, the search for the next president of Ball State University has moved forward aggressively and successfully over the past three months.

Last spring, the Board of Trustees appointed a 16-member presidential search committee, consisting of representatives of all parts of the Ball State community. As a group, we held a great series of public forums, at which much input was received regarding the aspirations for our institution and the desired qualities of our next president. The thoughtful and heartfelt comments shared at the forums and otherwise submitted to the search committee have helped us better define what we are looking for in our next leader.

While these discussions within the Ball State community have been beneficial, the interaction with potential candidates has been equally productive. The search committee is being advised by John Thornburgh, senior partner of the search firm Witt/Kieffer. John is very encouraged by the response and communications he is having with the prospects. Our consultant is speaking to potential candidates of the very highest caliber, which we should all proudly view as positive affirmation of the national reputation of Ball State.

The search is moving along at the proper pace. Once the search firm narrows the field down to the most qualified candidates, the committee will determine which of those to interview. There is no deadline for the process, but rather the search will be complete when the right individual to lead our future is selected. I want to thank the members of the search committee for their work to date, and their significant effort to be provided in the months ahead.

The interest in the search on campus and among alumni and friends of the university remains strong, as reflected by the high number of suggestions for potential candidates the committee has received through our presidential search website. If you have additional candidates to suggest, we are always open to your thoughts.

To the students, faculty, and staff, we wish you the best for this semester. For alumni and friends, we hope to see you on campus soon. As the committee continues its work on our next exciting chapter, this fall let us all enjoy together the amazing energy that is Ball State University.

With best regards,

Matt Momper
Presidential Search Committee Chair
Assistant Secretary, Ball State University Board of Trustees

Thanks to All

Thank you to everyone who attended the recent presidential search forums. We appreciate your time and value the thoughtful dialogue you shared with the search committee.

What’s clear is the deep love and appreciation that everyone—from students to staff, faculty to alumni and community members—has for Ball State University. Our search consultant, Witt/Kieffer, has recorded all the positive input and will use it to build a position profile for our next president.

We’re building on great momentum, thanks to the passion and commitment of our students, faculty, and staff, and the lasting relationships with our alumni. We welcome additional questions or input you may wish to share; simply email us at or

Thank you,

Matt Momper, Chair
Ball State Presidential Search Committee


March 14 Presidential search process begins.

March 28 Forums for presidential input set.

April 6 — The board conducts open interviews of prospective search firms.

April 11 — The board conducts open interviews of prospective search firms.

April 15  Trustees accept master plan, move forward with presidential search.

April 15 — The board, at a scheduled meeting, selects Witt/Kieffer to advise the next presidential search for Ball State.

April 21 — The board conducts public forums with members of the campus and greater community.

April 22 — The board conducts public forums with members of the campus and greater community.

Our Vision

“Ball State aspires to be the model of the most student-centered and community-engaged of the 21st century public research universities, transforming entrepreneurial learners into impactful leaders—committed to improving the quality of life for all.”

Our History

Ball State University is at an exciting point in its history. The university has successfully strengthened its national stature in architecture and planning, telecommunications and media, education and teacher preparation, entrepreneurship and business, music, and the arts; a robust enrollment profile; increasing diversity of the student body and faculty; vibrant student life; and philanthropic support.

Ball State is a national leader in innovative, sustainable policies and practices. Ball State is a comprehensive public institution categorized by The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a doctoral university: higher research activity. The university has about 3,900 employees, including about 1,050 full-time faculty members, and enrolls about 22,000 students. Ball State has also distinguished itself through immersive and entrepreneurial learning, a distinct approach to teaching and learning.