UM System presidential search continues in secrecy

Monday, November 14, 2011 | 5:22 p.m. CST; updated 8:29 p.m. CST, Monday, November 14, 2011

COLUMBIA — The University of Missouri System is having a case of deja vu.

The Board of Curators met again Monday evening via teleconference in its role as the presidential search committee.

Curators moved into executive session, a schedule that was identical to a teleconference meeting held Nov. 3. There was no announcement after the meeting and UM spokeswoman Jennifer Hollingshead couldn't comment on how many candidates are still being considered.

This kind of secrecy has enveloped the presidential search since it began earlier this year.

She did say that new curators Craig Van Matre and Pamela Quigg Henrickson would vote for a new UM System president.

In August, board chairman Warren Erdman said the pool of candidates had been reduced from "well over 100" to about 40, but he has been tight-lipped about the number of remaining candidates since.

Erdman has previously said candidates have asked for confidentiality, though some names have been rumored to be in the running.

In September, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported that Thomas Hoenig, former president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, was a top presidential candidate. The report was disputed, although Craig Van Matre, who was a part of the interviews in August, confirmed Hoenig had been contacted about the job.

Curators have met with and interviewed candidates as recently as the end of October during meetings in Kansas City and St. Louis.

Erdman said the curators had hoped to present a list of finalists to the presidential search advisory committee "within two weeks" on Oct. 21. It has been more than three weeks since that announcement.

At the beginning of November, Hollingshead said the committee might be down to a group of finalists "within the next few weeks."

Erdman has emphasized there is no timeline for making a decision.

Former system President Gary Forsee announced his resignation in January. Steve Owens is serving as interim president.

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