U of M Board of Regents Member updates search for president

On pace for announcement by the end of 2018

Sloane Martin
October 25, 2018 - 8:29 am

© Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

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The University of Minnesota Board of Regents is on pace to announce the system's new president by the end of the year.

Executive search advisory committee chair Abdul Omari tells Dave Lee on the WCCO Morning News that no interviews have been conducted, but they have a full candidate pool.

They're going by recommendations by a search firm, but are not beholden to it.

"What will happen is the 23-person presidential search advisory committee that I chair will do the interviews and then will pass on about three to four candidates back to the 12-member Board of Regents and the Board of Regents will decide on who the next president will be," he said.

Omari says a graduate of the U of M is an "added bonus" but they're casting a wide net with traditional academics or political backgrounds, but added that the latter "can be challenging." President Eric Kaler announced he is stepping down July 1.

Omari says they're seeking someone who's innovative, collaborative and has aggressive ideas for the system.

"And this is something that we overwhelmingly heard," he said, "is someone that wants to be the president of the University of Minnesota; not to be a president. And those are very distinct things. We want somebody who's been sitting in their office turning down job opportunities for years and they see this job and they say, 'oh, you know what? That's the job that I want. I don't want to just be a president anywhere."

The process has been taxing since Kaler announced his decision last summer.

"Luckily I don't have have any hair already so can't worry about losing that," he joked. "It is very stressful. What I tell people, and I saw it jokingly but it's also very true, I think about it about 80 percent of my waking hours and I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it. It takes a good amount of time but it's very important. I'm excited about it. I think we're going to have a president that's going to come in and be very inspiring and lead the institution to the next level."

The U of M is still taking public comments at president-search.umn.edu.