LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - She's the third candidate looking to replace retiring McNeese President Robert Hebert. Accompanied by her husband, Dr. Linda Rinker made her way before the presidential search committee.
"It has been a privilege to be with you today and I have learned a great deal about the university," said Rinker.
Now it was it time for them to learn more about her. For starters she has more than 30 years experience in higher education at two universities and several large hospitals and currently serves as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Western Connecticut University.
Just two questions in the conversation quickly turns to the budget management. Rinker says it's currently part of her responsibilities in a dual role at Western Connecticut she oversees the universities 108-million dollar operating budget.
"I'm immediately aware of how to manage those budgets, but more over, how to communicate those budget reductions for and with the community," said Rinker.
One way to offset budget cuts is through fundraising. Dr. Rinker believes that every moment on campus is an opportunity to raise money and says she'll be a driving force to get students, faculty and the community involved.
"It is the president's key role to be actively involved in that whole component and in the ask as well... It's also his or her role to work with the alumni," explained Rinker.
Then came the question of cuts to athletics - mainly Cowboy Football should the team struggle on the field.
"I don't see an opportunity to cut something when this is the life-blood of a community - so that would be not a wise decision. What I would want to see is what kind of plans would be able to be developed to improve and build upon perhaps a better type of programming. Anything can improve, but the question is how to do it," said Rinker.
While we now have a first impression - Dr. Rinker tells us about hers: "I'm loving your warm weather and I think the university is terrific and really beautiful at this time of year."
Now only time will tell if she'll spend more time in Lake Charles.
The fourth and final candidate, Dr. Philip Williams will be interviewed Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in Stokes auditorium. The interviewing process is open to the public. Friday the board will review all of the candidates and narrow the field down to at least two for final consideration before the full board in Baton Rouge.