Stimpert to take over McDermond Center, Management Fellows

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A woman working with Facilities Management pushed a trashcan out of the room titled "Director's Office" in the McDermond Center Monday afternoon, revealing empty bookshelves and a cleared desk behind her.

"Still got more to do, but working on it," she said.

The office, which belonged to Gary Lemon, director of the McDermond Center and Management Fellows Program until two weeks ago, now stands empty. The door that was almost always open has been closed.

In an email sent to the alumni of the Management Fellows program late last week, Vice President of Academic Affairs Larry Stimpert said he came to an "agreement" with Gary Lemon that Lemon "will no longer have leadership responsibilities for the McDermond Center for Management and Entrepreneurship or for the Management Fellows Program."

Lemon will continue teaching economics and management and Stimpert will temporarily take over as head of the McDermond Center and Management Fellows program as the search continues for a new permanent director.

Lemon was originally set to serve the remainder of the semester in his role as head of the McDermond Center and the Management Fellows Program until May, but after a disputed decision between Stimpert and Lemon about the future of the Management Fellows program, Lemon removed his things from the director's office in the McDermond Center.

"I don't want to get into the details about specific kinds of personnel conversations or issues, I just don't think that's appropriate," Stimpert said in a phone interview Monday. "But I think it's safe to say that we came to a mutual understanding that we would move that date up sooner rather than later, but beyond that I don't really want to comment."

The DePauw attempted to reach out to Lemon for an interview. In an e-mail response, Lemon said, "Sorry, I have nothing to add."

Stimpert acknowledged that his vision for the Management Fellows program was different than Lemon's, which expedited Lemon's departure from the McDermond Center.

"I don't think we differ at all in terms of the importance of the program, our commitment to giving the students who are Management Fellows an amazing experience," Stimpert said, "but I think the only area where we might have differed is the desired speed of some changes in the program."

Senior Management Fellow Tommy Hiller said Lemon's absence from the McDermond Center has been noticeable.

"It's been a lot more depressing here," Hiller said. "I have class with Lemon, too, and it has been very different."

Stimpert introduced himself to the Management Fellows Wednesday, Feb. 19 and assured the students that the program would continue to improve in the coming year. Little has been said about Lemon's sudden departure or who will fill his position.

"I think it's definitely sudden," Hiller said. "I would have liked to see Lemon stay until May for the sake of continuity."

Hiller said he hopes the next director will come from outside the world of academia and will provide some more real-world experience.

Stimpert said the search for the next director is at the forefront of his current concerns, though he could not say whether the position would be filled from within the university or outside the university. Prospective students will interview to become part of the Management Fellows class of 2018 over the weekend, but they will not know who will head the program.

Sophomore Management Fellow Andrew Peterson said he is eager to see a new director take over the program. As he searches for an internship opportunity for next year, Peterson said he has felt limited by the handful of internships the Management Fellows programs has encouraged in the past.

"[Lemon] definitely encourages the same few internships because they have been successful in the past," Petersen said.

Stimpert said the program will aim to acquire more internships in coming years and to better utilize DePauw alumni for professional opportunities.

As he seeks an internship with a start up business, Petersen said he hopes a new director would seek a diverse selection of internships across the country.

"Over the years, the pool has only diminished when we need to expand," Petersen said. "It's not actively limiting, but it's a byproduct of not constantly seeking new options."

In his email to Management Fellows alumni, Stimpert attributes speculation regarding the future of the program to articles printed in The DePauw, but said he will see to it that the Management Fellows program continues to thrive. He told students and alumni to hold him accountable.

" I think that almost everyone wishes that things had played out differently," Stimpert said. "I think nobody wishes they'd played out more differently than I do. I thought we had a really good plan in place, but I think we'll certainly go on from this."