Dickinson State University has new president
D.C. Coston was "thrilled and excited" after being appointed Dickinson State University's president Thursday. The State Board of Higher Education voted him into the position during a meeting held via conference call Thursday morning.
Coston, whose first name is Donald, has been serving as interim president since former president Richard McCallum was suspended and then fired following many accusations including inflating enrollment.
"I think after everything that happened, I don't think he could have handled the situation any better," Deryl Matthew, student senate president, said about Coston after the meeting. "He was professional throughout the whole process."
Members of the SBHE met with Dickinson residents as well as DSU representatives and students Wednesday regarding the position, SBHE President Grant Shaft said during the meeting.
"Obviously the options following Dr. McCallum's departure would be to conduct a full blown presidential search or we do, as a board, have the option of transitioning D.C. Coston permanently into the presidency," Shaft said.
Comments he has heard about Coston have been "overwhelmingly positive," he added.
"We were urged not to have a search committee and to appoint D.C. Coston as the permanent president," Shaft said.
Chancellor William Goetz said faculty and students support Coston as president.
"I have nothing but positive things to say about his working relationship and also his decision making process and leadership," Goetz said.
After the meeting, Coston said he was flattered by the board's appointment.
"I hopefully have been doing some things that have been helpful in my time here and I'm just very pleased that they did ask me to become part of Dickinson State," he said.
Prior to being asked to be interim president, Coston never pictured himself in this position.
"My experience throughout my life has been that doors open and you take a look and if what's on the other side of that door looks exciting and a place where you feel you can do something to contribute, those are the things that I've become engaged in," he said.
"When I've been presented with new opportunities, I've tried to jump in and learn as much as I possibly can, and fortunately wherever I've been I've had great colleagues, including here, that kind of take me under their wings and teach me things. I'm sure that together we'll make Dickinson State an even better place."
Matthew was impressed that Coston is able to attend more events on campus than he is. Matthew said he is also honored to have Coston at theater productions.
"It really means a lot when you have the highest official on campus, not only attending your shows more than once, the performances, but attending rehearsals so he sees the process and how we grow as actors," Matthew said. "He's everywhere."
Coston said he loves to be involved.
"I like to believe I have a lot of energy, but I also care very deeply about people and I care very deeply about what we're doing individually and collectively and I like to witness things first hand," he said. "And I think that in the roll that I'm being called on to do, the better feel I have for what's going on, the better I can fulfill my part of what this institution is about."