For over 40 years, Witt/Kieffer has been a leader in executive search for education and healthcare. Witt/Kieffer ranks among the top 10 executive search firms nationwide and is the single largest firm specializing in senior-level executive search assignments for higher education, healthcare and not-for-profit organizations. Witt/Kieffer’s mission is to identify outstanding leadership for organizations committed to improving the quality of life. Witt/Kieffer clients include major colleges and universities, arts and cultural organizations, national associations, and leading hospitals and health systems.
Within higher education, the firm specializes in executive searches for presidents, chancellors, provosts, deans, senior advancement officers and leaders of major academic and administrative units such as finance, enrollment management and student affairs. In the last 3 years, WK has conducted 306 searches for colleges and universities, including:
- 37 chief executive officers
- 29 chief academic officers
- 31 chief advancement officers
- 13 chief financial officers
Witt/Kieffer has engaged two seasoned professionals who specialize in higher education executive searches to serve as consultants for Long Island University’s presidential search.
John K. Thornburgh is a senior vice president and co-director of the firm’s higher education practice. His 25 years of leadership experience as an executive or governing board member in health care, higher education, a Fortune 50 corporation and not-for-profit organizations gives him broad-based expertise in governance, recruitment and retention issues. John specializes in executive search assignments for health care, higher education and not-for-profit clients who are seeking key executive roles as president/CEO, CFO, dean, vice president and other prominent positions. Prior to joining Witt/Kieffer, John maintained an executive leadership consulting practice and provided counsel to boards, search committees and CEOs in for-profit and not-for- profit organizations. In addition, he was president/CEO of a financial services firm and managing director of the Pittsburgh office of a global executive search firm. Earlier in his career, John was president of a not-for-profit economic development organization and had significant executive experience in marketing, public relations and sales roles at Verizon Corporation. John is currently vice-chairman of The Children’s Institute, a nationally renowned children’s rehabilitation medical center in Pittsburgh. In the higher education field, he serves on the Council of Trustees of Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. John recently completed terms as a member of the Board of Governors of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, as a trustee of California University of Pennsylvania and as a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences. He is a member of the Association of Governing Boards and the Pennsylvania Association of College Trustees.
B.A., Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA
Executive Business Management Program, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, Durham, NC
Jean Dowdall specializes in senior executive searches for colleges, universities and other not-for-profit organizations. She brings 30 years of experience in higher education and has been a search consultant since 1996. Following a faculty career, she began her administrative career as an American Council on Education (ACE) fellow, and then became a dean of arts and sciences (West Chester University, West Chester, PA), vice president (Arcadia University, Glenside, PA) and president (Simmons College, Boston, MA). Jean has carried out more than 150 searches for executive leadership, including over 50 searches for presidents and chancellors. She is the author of Searching for Higher Education Leadership: Advice for Candidates and Search Committees, has published in the ACE/Praeger Series on Higher Education, and is a frequent columnist and speaker on executive search. Her columns for the Chronicle of Higher Education are archived at www.chronicle.com/jobs.
Ph.D., Sociology, Brown University, Providence, RI
M.A., Anthropology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
B.A., Anthropology, Brown University, Providence, RI, Phi Beta Kappa