UM Presidential Search Committee begins informal talks with candidates

Monday, July 11, 2011 | 10:36 p.m. CDT; updated 5:23 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 19, 2011

COLUMBIA — The UM Presidential Search Committee met for three and a half hours in a closed session Monday evening to discuss potential candidates for the new system president.

In a teleconference following the meeting, Curator Warren Erdman said the committee discussed somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 names as potential successors to Gary Forsee, who stepped down as president in January.

Erdman stressed that the number was not static and changed daily.

"The process remains open, and we intend to keep it open until there are finalists," he said. "We don't want to discourage any candidate."

Erdman said for the past three weeks, the committee had been engaged in informal conversations with various individuals regarding the position. He would not go into detail about any of those in the running, as nearly all had insisted on confidentiality.

In broader terms, Erdman described the candidates as extremely diverse and was encouraged by their qualifications.

"We are a very sought-after institution in terms of this presidency," he said.

Erdman calls the talks a "get acquainted opportunity," and said the committee plans to conduct formal interviews with the candidates in August.

"We're still at the very beginning stages," he said.

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