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pacing the void

By Edina A.T. Strum
Arizona Summer Wildcat
June 18, 1997

Search committee continues quest for the next UA president


Arizona Summer Wildcat File Photo: After Manuel Pacheco announced that he would be resigning the UA presidency to go the University of Missouri, the Presidential Search Committee has narrowed the applications for the new presidency to less than 104- but the official number should be annouc ed in the next few weeks.

The UA presidential search committee met in executive session Thursday to continue reviewing applications and narrowing the field for UA President Manuel Pacheco's replacement.

The committee originally planned to announce the names of presidential candidates this month but has fallen behind.

As of today, the official number of presidential prospects was 104. However, Jonathan Schmitt, search committee member said, "We're not dealing with 104 people."

He could not release the exact number of applicants that are being seriously considered, but said an official announcement of candidates should be made within the next few weeks.

Following that announcement the candidates will come to the university for interviews with various campus groups ranging from administrators to students, Schmitt said.

After the search committee selects about five to 10 candidates, the Arizona Board of Regents will make the final selection.

Schmitt, who ends his one-year term as the student member of the board of regents this month, said he is happy with the applicants and has kept the idea of finding a president who is responsive to students' needs in his mind.

In February, at the beginning of the search process, Schmitt and the other students on the committee, Rhonda Wilson, University of Arizona senior and former Associated Student president and Wendelyn Nichols-Julien, UA senior in political science and regio nal development, conducted a survey to find out what qualities students wanted in a new president.

The 156 respondents stated that student interaction and undergraduate education should be the new presidents' top priority.

Other committee members shared Schmitt's confidence in the quality of applicants.

"We are considering first-tier people," said Judy Gignac, search committee and board of regents member.

She added that it is not likely a new president will take office August 1 as originally planned. However, she said the length of time the incoming president needs to make the move to the university will determine whether an interim president is chosen. Th at judgment will be made by the regents, not the search committee, she said.

Pacheco, who announced his resignation January 8, will leave at the end of July to begin his new position as head of the University of Missouri School System.

Committee member Jay Gonzales, director of corporate communications for Tucson Electric Power, said he is also happy with the applicant pool, but the process is taking longer than expected because some people who have applied have not officially agreed to become candidates.

One reason for the delays may be that after an applicant becomes a candidate, his or her name must be released - until then anonymity is assured.

At the start of the search process, Chairman John Munger emphasized the possible negative impact it could have on applicants currently in high-level positions if it was known they were looking elsewhere.

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