President Stays Longer; Regents Continue Search

President William P. Gerberding has agreed to stay at the University until August 31, two months later than the date he originally set for stepping down, the UW Board of Regents announced April 4.

The regents also named a new firm to act as a consultant in the search for Gerberding's successor, A.T. Kearney Inc. of Chicago.

The announcement came as the search for the next UW president entered a new phase. A search committee had forwarded a "manageable" number of candidates to the regents in December and January, reported Regent Paul Skinner at the March 17 regents' meeting

"For a number of personal and professional reasons, none of the candidates materialized," he said. "I wish it had taken a different turn." Skinner is the chair of the 18-member search committee, which includes regents, alumni, faculty, students and staff.

According to press reports, one of the finalists was Graham Spanier, chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, who instead will become president of Pennsylvania State University.

Because Gerberding had set June 30 as the date for stepping down, the regents considered naming an interim president but also asked Gerberding if he could stay in office longer.

"I'm very anxious to move on to the next chapter of my life, but when I was approached, I felt it was incumbent of me to do it," Gerberding told the press. He selected August 31 because he has travel plans in September.

Even if the regents name a successor to Gerberding before Aug. 31, it is possible that an interim president will be needed to cover the time between Gerberding's departure and the arrival of the new leader.

This spring the search committee will continue to screen candidates with the help of the new consultants, lead by John Phillips, the managing director of educational practice for Kearney.

Phillips and his associate have helped trustees hire the following new presidents: William Richardson at Johns Hopkins, Myles Brand at the University of Oregon, Samuel Thier at Brandeis and Chancellor Paul Hardin at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The regents terminated their contract with the previous search consultants, Academic Search Consultation Service of Washington, D.C. "We believe we need a fresher approach," Skinner said.

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