Council tapers field of regents hopefuls

Anna Weggel

State officials are continuing the process of whittling down the number of candidates for the four open seats on the University’s Board of Regents.

Paul Dovre, chairman of the Regent Candidate Advisory Council, said the council selected 17 out of 55 applicants to be interviewed for further consideration. The council will endorse two to four candidates for every open seat. The State Legislature will then make the final selection.

“We prepare our recommendations for the Legislature, and when we’ve completed that, they process the recommendation,” he said.

The board is the governing body of the University. It has 12 members: eight who serve state congressional districts and four who serve at large. Regents serve six-year terms.

The legislators are not limited to the recommended candidates, but Dovre said it’s customary for them to make their decision based on the council’s suggestion.

Dovre said the council is looking to endorse candidates who have good experience with governance, have knowledge of the University and are sensitive to the needs of the state.

“We have some very strong candidates,” he said. “We expect that we will be working very carefully and very intensely.”

Dovre said the council looks at the skills current board members have and determines what the areas of need are.

The council’s report is due to the Legislature on Feb. 1. After that, Dovre said, the Legislature will make the final decision according to its own schedule, ideally in February.

The regents whose terms expire this year are Dallas Bohnsack, 2nd District; Anthony Baraga, 8th District; William Hogan, 3rd District; and Maureen Reed, who serves at large.

Bohnsack and Baraga are running for second terms, but Hogan and Reed are not. It’s customary for regents to serve no more than two terms.

Bohnsack said he is running because he remembers all the University has done for him and wants to give something back.

Bohnsack said that if re-elected, he would bring a unique perspective to the board as a small-town, rural person with an agricultural background.

“We all bring a different perspective,” he said. “We all come from very different parts of the state and backgrounds.”

Bohnsack said having regents from different geographical districts is “absolute magic” because the board is then represented by people who have all kinds of skills.

Baraga said he enjoyed his first term on the board and would like to do it again.

“It’s been a really great experience; I’d like to continue,” he said.

Baraga said that after six years of serving, he’s learned the workings of the University and wants to continue to make it a “good and great place.”

The 17 applicants who will be interviewed next week are: Bohnsack, Baraga, Bruce Endler, Leonard Pederson, Arlene Breckenridge, Scott Johnson, David Larson, Lawrence Laukka, Linda Mona, Kate Rubin, Edward Borowiec, John Goldfine, Steven Hunter, Ramona Jones, Margaret Leppik, Roger McCannon and Michael Vekich.