Presidential Search Nears Final Phase

About 200 people have been nominated to become the 29th president of the University of Washington, says the chair of an advisory panel that will pass the names of finalists to the Board of Regents later this month.

Medical School Dean Paul Ramsey, head of the 15-member panel of faculty, students, alumni, staff and regents, says the committee has been sifting through its list of nominees, who are from academe, business, government and community service agencies.

"The majority of the nominees come from an academic background," he says. "Some are sitting presidents at other institutions, some are provosts and deans." The nominees are "from all over the country," he adds. The majority of the nominees come from an academic background, some are sitting presidents at other institutions, some are provosts and deans,from all over the country.

The committee's goal is to send an unranked list of three to five candidates to the Board of Regents by mid-June. The regents, who have final hiring authority, want a new president on campus when the 2003-04 academic year begins. The first day of classes is Sept. 29, which means that a presidential appointment may come in mid-summer.

At several public forums held in the spring, participants wondered if the University's financial situation might dissuade potential candidates. Ramsey says this does not appear to be a problem. "In general, the reaction we are getting is very positive," he says, adding that most nominees have removed themselves for personal reasons only.

"The challenges are common facing higher education in general and facing state universities in particular," Ramsey explains. "They see us as well positioned."

At one forum, a retired president on the panel was emphatic about the UW. "This is one of the most attractive leadership positions in higher education today. You are a national treasure," said University of Illinois President Emeritus Stanley Ikenberry.

At another forum, search consultant Bill Funk of Korn/Ferry International warned that there are 30 to 50 higher education leadership searches going on at the same time. Other top research universities looking for presidents or chancellors include the University of Indiana, Emory University, Boston University, Colorado State University and the University of Florida.

Compensation could also be an issue. Former President Richard L. McCormick was making $295,000 when he left the UW for Rutgers University in New Jersey. In his new position, he is making $525,000 annually. Recent hires at Michigan, Tennessee and Arizona have received salaries ranging from $520,000 to $734,000. For more information on the presidential search, visit the UW Presidential Search site at

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