Sierra Nevada College’s Lynn Gillette out as president (updated)
December 22, 2014
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — No reasons were given Tuesday regarding Lynn Gillette's apparent abrupt decision to resign as president of Sierra Nevada College.
The college's board of trustees announced the move Tuesday in a statement obtained at about 10:45 a.m. by the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. Shannon Beets, Executive Vice President and Provost, will serve as interim president.
Details on why Gillette left were not included in the statement. According to the college, he "has left to pursue other interests."
"The terms of his departure are sealed. Lynn has decided to leave the college," SNC Trustee Bob Hall said in a phone interview shortly after noon Tuesday, considering SNC is a private college. "… It is a personnel manner, and that's a sealed affair."
Hall said Gillette informed the board of his decision to leave during a telephone conference call "in the middle of last week."
The board waited until Tuesday to announce the move publicly, as trustees wanted "to take the weekend" to develop a strategy to inform the school's staff, students and donors, among others in the community and within various higher education circles.
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SNC's administration and senior staff were notified Monday, Hall said, and Beets informed the rest of staff and faculty during a meeting on campus Tuesday morning.
Students were informed via an email blast at about 11 a.m. Tuesday. The blast was nearly identical to the statement sent to media.
Hall said several trustees will lead the search for a new president, a position he expects Beets to apply for.
"There's no question the college has had its ups in downs over the years, but to be honest, it's in the best shape it's ever been right now," Hall said. "Transitions are sometimes good and sometimes not good, but I think this is going to be a good transition for SNC Tahoe … Financially, we are on a great path. We're not endowed like Harvard, of course, but we are very much financially right side up, on a positive cash flow basis."
When Beets' office was reached by phone Tuesday morning, a spokesperson said she was in meetings and unable to comment.
"The Board has complete confidence in Ms. Beets and her team to carry on the functions of the college, and to move the institution forward while we proceed with a presidential search," Board Chair Atam Lalchandani said in a statement. "Shannon has worked diligently and effectively across the breadth of SNC Tahoe, and is deeply familiar with every key program and initiative. She will bring her dedication to SNC Tahoe, her significant experience in higher education, her extensive knowledge of the campus community, and her passionate commitment to innovative teaching practices to her role as interim president.
"The board and I look forward to working with her, moving this extraordinary institution forward. We are equally confident that members of the college community will work together to assure that SNC Tahoe continues to deliver world-class education to its students."
Phone messages left for Lalchandani have not been returned for this story.
Gillette became the four-year liberal arts college's 10th president on Nov. 1, 2011. He replaced Richard Rubsamen, who resigned a month earlier.
Previous to that, Gillette served as Executive Vice President and Provost for three and a half years. He had also taught various business and economics courses at SNC.
"The Board of Trustees expresses its appreciation to Dr. Gillette for his service to the college and wishes him success in his future endeavors," according to Tuesday's statement.
Gillette appointed Beets on Dec. 1, 2011, as SNC's Executive Vice President and Provost. Since 2006, Beets has served in various positions including Registrar, Dean of Enrollment Services, Assistant Provost, Associate Provost for Graduate Programs and Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness.
Beets earned a bachelor of arts in Religion and Philosophy from the University of La Verne and a masters in Women's Studies in Religion from Claremont Graduate University.
Prior to Sierra Nevada College, Beets spent 14 years in higher education administration at various institutions. Concurrent with her administrative career, Beets also taught at the University of La Verne and California State University, Fullerton.