The obvious problem facing the UM System Board of Curators and Timothy M. Wolfe, its out-of-the-blue choice as the university system's new president, was this:
How do you explain the selection of a former software executive with no significant academic credentials as the leader of a four-campus university system?
Answer: You take a sow's ear and turn it into a silk purse.
On Wednesday, Wolfe visited the university's St. Louis campus and said he plans a two-month "journey of enlightenment" to bring himself up to speed on the needs of the various campuses.
This is great. Next time we're lost, we're going to tell our spouses that we're on journeys of enlightenment.
On Wednesday, curators praised Wolfe's Columbia roots (he grew up there and got a bachelor's degree from Mizzou) and said he understood academia because his parents were professors.
And then there was curator Pam Henrickson's explanation that Wolfe would bring "fresh eyes. Somebody to come in and say, 'Why do you do this?'"
This would not be a good way to hire someone to, say, fix your car. Whatever happened to straight talk?