Trustee Search Committee Guidelines


The purpose of the Trustee Search Committee is to select the names of two or three alumni to be presented to the members of the Alumni Association as candidates for the position of alumni- elected member of the Board of Trustees of Oberlin College.

Alumni-elected trustees hold six of the 30 positions on the Board. Under normal circumstances, one trustee is elected each year to a term of six years. Service as an alumni-elected trustee is limited to two terms, although an alumni-elected trustee can be selected by the Board of Trustees to serve additional terms. Terms begin and end at Noon on July 1. In the event of a vacancy created by an uncompleted term, the Alumni Association would elect an additional trustee. In that case, the Trustee Search Committee would provide three candidates to stand for election; the number of nominees should exceed by one the number of trustee positions to be filled.


The Trustee Search Committee consists of a chair and nine members who are selected by the Nominations Committee and appointed by the Executive Board. Three persons are appointed each year for renewable, three-year terms on the committee. It is recommended that this committee include alumni from both the College and the Conservatory. The committee as a whole should have broad acquaintance with each decade of classes whose members are eligible for nomination to the Board of Trustees.

The chair is elected by the Alumni Council in accordance with established Alumni Association procedures and reports the activities of the committee to the Executive Board and the Alumni Council on a regular basis.

As part of the agreement to serve on the Alumni Council, all committee members shall be required to make a financial contribution to the College annually to ensure 100% participation. Failure to make such an annual contribution shall be considered grounds for removal from the Council.


The Trustee Search Committee meets two times annually at the call of the chair. In general, meetings should last not less than one full working day in order to increase the cost effectiveness and efficiency of the committee.

The September meeting is usually called in conjunction with the Alumni Council's annual meeting. At least one meeting each year, usually the December one, should be scheduled to overlap with an on-campus meeting of the Board of Trustees, to permit a joint meeting of the committee and the current alumni-elected trustees, and to permit committee members to attend a Board plenary session.

Staff Liaison

The Trustee Search Committee is staffed by the Executive Director of the Alumni Association or a designee who attends all meetings.

Criteria for Alumni-Elected Trustee Candidates

The candidate must hold an Oberlin College degree, earned or honorary (as required by Oberlin College Bylaws).

The candidate must be able to serve a full six-year term on the Board of Trustees before the mandatory retirement age of 75.

Candidates also should:

  1. understand and be dedicated to Oberlin's ideals, objectives, and institutional traditions;
  2. support the unique partnership between the College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory of Music;
  3. be committed to the value of a liberal education in arts and sciences in a complex and changing world and to the training of professional musicians at the undergraduate level;
  4. possess a notable reputation in their profession or area of endeavor;
  5. have the expertise and competence to make sound decisions for the College;
  6. demonstrate a readiness to make a significant commitment of time and to make available or have access to resources – human, financial, and material – on behalf of Oberlin during tenure on the Board;
  7. be willing to represent alumni interests and concerns in Board deliberations. (Alumni-elected trustees technically do not represent and are not accountable to the Alumni Association. However, they serve as an avenue for alumni concerns to be conveyed to the Board of Trustees and are asked to report regularly to the Association.);
  8. enhance the diversity of perspectives represented on the Board;
  9. be persons whose presence contributes to a strong, working Board of Trustees;
  10. have a record of service to and financial support for Oberlin College.

Approved 12/2/88
Amended 11/20/93, 6/18/95, 11/7/99, 3/11/00, 3/10/02
Trustee Search Committee
Executive Board