Baker head sets sights on Sunshine State

As Vice President of Student Affairs Kent Smith interviews at Langston University, another member of the department will be packing his bags.

Sujit Chemburkar, executive director of Baker University Center and Event Services, will leave Ohio University Feb. 3 for the University of South Florida. He will serve as the director of the school’s Marshall Student Center.

“I wasn’t actively searching, but I look at the job postings every morning,” Chemburkar said.

While working at OU, Chemburkar merged University Events, Conference Services and Baker University Center administration, according to his LinkedIn profile. He makes $81,405.

Chemburkar’s three years of experience at OU, in addition to the four years he previously spent at Truman State University as director of the Student Union Building, contributed to the offer, said Guy Conway, assistant vice president for Student Affairs at USF.

The Marshall Student Center is a 235,000 square-foot, $65 million student union that opened three years ago, Conway said.

The former director of USF’s student center, Joe Synovec, announced his retirement several months ago and will leave when Chemburkar officially begins his work there Feb. 20.

Chemburkar was one of four finalists for the position after a nationwide search — all of whom visited USF’s campus for interviews. Although Conway did not release the names of the other finalists, he said they hailed from Texas, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

“Sujit was our No. 1 candidate,” Conway said. “He was by far the best person. He gave the presentation, and the students liked him the most.”

Chemburkar’s contract is at-will, and USF’s general counsel office has not yet released his salary.

Chemburkar said he has enjoyed his time at OU and in the Division of Student Affairs.

“I think in the Division of Student Affairs, we have a very dynamic group of people really interested in serving the students,” he said.

The announcement of Chemburkar’s departure comes amid the news of Smith’s candidacy for president at Langston University in Oklahoma. Smith is one of four finalists and will interview at the university Jan. 17-19.

Despite the possibility of several personnel changes in Student Affairs, those who would remain said the department would hold up well.

“In regards to Dr. Smith, we would all miss him dearly,” Dean of Students Ryan Lombardi said. “But if he does go, we’ve got a great staff here. That’s a good leader’s legacy, to be able to leave and have the department be able to keep moving.”

OU posted a listing for the executive director position on Applications should be submitted by Jan. 19. However, if the position isn’t filled by the time Chemburkar leaves, the department will shift responsibilities internally rather than rushing the search, Lombardi said.

Student Affairs has specific traits in mind for Chemburkar’s replacement.

“First and foremost, we’d like to have someone who will put the interests of students, faculty and staff first,” Smith said. “We need someone who will value the type of institution that we are. We value people’s thoughts and people’s opinions, and we involve them.”

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