Troy Hammond was named the next president of North Central College on Friday.
But for many on the Naperville campus, the appointment didn't become official until Monday when it was endorsed by the school's current president, Harold "Hal" Wilde.
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Wilde, who is ending his 22-year tenure with the college at the end of the year, was one of several officials to welcome Hammond and his family to the college during a community reception.
Above all, Wilde said, Hammond is capable of taking the college to the next level while embracing all its existing strengths.
"He has the right temperament, the right intellect, the right character, the right energy, the right passion, the right experience and the right vision to turn this 151-year-old college's promising start into an even more promising future," Wilde said. "He gets what makes this college special. He's just what the doctor ordered to assure the future of the school that we love."
Hammond, 45 and a Naperville resident since 2010, most recently was president of the energy services business at BlueStar Energy, a private firm headquartered in Chicago. Before taking that position in 2010, he spent six years as vice president of Plextronics Inc., helping to build the Pittsburgh-based technology company.
During his time at Plextronics, Hammond became an adjunct professor of business at Milligan College, the private liberal arts college in Tennessee where he earned the first of his two undergraduate degrees. He taught Quantitative Methods for Business for the school's MBA program.
Hammond said he was attracted to the North Central job because the college is "driven forward by passionate and talented faculty, who teach some of the brightest minds from the region and globally."
"What an honor to be chosen the next leader of North Central College. North Central has a rich and proud history, but North Central is not standing still, it is moving forward aggressively," he told the crowd gathered at Wentz Hall to greet him. "North Central College is an amazing institution recognized nationally as a truly distinctive college of liberal arts and sciences."
Students, alums and community members filled the concert hall to glimpse their next leader. They liked what they heard.
"He can make a joke in a serious time and that's important," said 2010 graduate Joe Norton. "He also says things that make you think, 'Whoa. This guy's pretty smart,' so I have confidence in him."
Graduate student Andrew Zobac was impressed with Wilde's praise of Hammond.
"I'm excited. I love that fact that he gets so much approval from President Wilde," Zobac said. "Personally, I'm a big fan of President Wilde, so if Wilde supports him that's all I need to hear."
Board Chairman Steven Hoeft also made light of Hammond already living in Naperville.
"We did a national search and it ended up that our president was just a few blocks west of campus the whole time. We should get a refund from the search consultant," Hoeft said. "But I'm very confident we have selected the president for North Central's future."
Trustee Michael Naset, who led the search committee, agreed.
"It was quite fortuitous," Naset said. "The stars were all aligned for us."
Hammond begins his presidency on Jan. 1.