Regents OK president search advisory panel

Brad Unangst

The University Board of Regents appointed the 12-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee at an emergency meeting Friday.

The committee will narrow the field of presidential candidates to seven for presentation to the board. The board will then review the candidates and announce three finalists, with plans to name the next president by the end of the year.

The advisory committee members are:

Chairwoman Ann Huntrods, attorney for Briggs & Morgan; Wilbert Ahern, social science professor at the University’s Morris campus; James R. Campbell, former chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo; Joshua Colburn, Minnesota Student Association president; Sara Evans, University history professor; Steve Hunter, Minnesota AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer; Reatha Clark King, chairwoman of the General Mills Foundation board of trustees; Peggy Leppik, retiring state representative; Marilyn Speedie, College of Pharmacy dean; John Sullivan, University regents political science professor; Robin Tellor, financial adviser for American Express Financial Advisors; and Lori-Anne Williams, assistant to the General College director of academic affairs.

“We were looking for people who are very committed, and we were looking for people with the highest integrity, who would respect the search process as the board has laid out,” said Chairwoman Maureen Reed, who chose the committee with Regents Anthony Baraga and David Metzen.

The committee will hold its first meeting in August and will identify and evaluate candidates based on criteria outlined by the board.

“I don’t think you can look for a clone of the person you just had,” said committee member Leppik.

Metzen said he agreed. “We’re not going to get another Yudof,” he said, adding that he would like the next president to have Yudof’s skills in both the education and political aspects of the presidency.

Search committee member Williams said the University needs someone who will continue Yudof’s work but also bring new ideas to the table.

“There are fabulous things about Mark Yudof, and I was sorry he was leaving,” she said, “but on the other hand, we haven’t gotten to the point of cloning yet.”

She said the committee would look for the candidate with the “best balance for the ‘U.'”

Concerns about keeping the candidates’ names confidential surfaced again Friday, less than a week after members discussed how Minnesota’s open meeting law could hinder their ability to attract the best candidates.

Regent Robert Bergland said the advisory committee must be “air- tight” and not leak any information about the search, or the process would come “tumbling down.”

University General Counsel Mark Rotenberg said last week he would advise the board on its legal options to keep the process confidential.

In other University news

The University announced Thursday a $500,000 endowed fellowship to honor Mark and Judy Yudof.

The Mark G. and Judy Yudof Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Science Policy and Ethics will be given to a graduate student pursuing work in those fields. It is funded by a $250,000 grant from the University Foundation and is matched by the 21st Century Graduate Fellowship Endowment.

Yudof called the fellowship a “wonderful honor” in a statement released Thursday.

 

– Andrew Pritchard contributed to this report.