Presidential search narrowed to six
Committee aims for February announcement
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 00:01
The University of Southern Mississippi is getting closer to finding the person who will replace interim president Aubrey K. Lucas, with a visit to campus by the preferred candidate visit expected in early February.
In September the Institutions of Higher Learning kicked into high gear in their search for the next president, following the abrupt resignation of former president Dr. Martha Saunders in spring 2012, and they are now interviewing applicants.
Last week, the IHL Board of Trustees met in Jackson to conduct the first round of interviews with the applicants. According to the office of the Commissioner on Higher Education Hank Bounds, the field has been narrowed down to six candidates. The names of the candidates have not been revealed because of confidentiality rules. They also could not answer whether any in-house candidate, such as faculty or staff from USM, has applied for the position. The first round of interviews concluded on Monday.
The board’s next step is to conduct reference contacts and background checks on candidates prior to the second round of interviews. Once complete, the second round of interviews will occur, and the Board Search Committee (BSC) will once again narrow the field of candidates. The Board of Trustees will meet to hear candidate recommendations from the BSC, followed by the formal announcement of the preferred candidate.
Depending on certain factors such as scheduling and availability, the board’s goal is to have the preferred candidate visit USM in early-to-mid February to engage in open interviews with various campus constituency groups, according to the commissioner’s office. If the board deems the preferred candidate to be a viable choice based on feedback from the constituency groups, he or she will be named the 11th president of the University of Southern Mississippi.
Many students, especially those graduating in May, are wondering who will shake their hands as they cross the stage at graduation to receive their diploma; however, it is too early to determine what date the candidate will take office.
For now, the university will assume the man administering diplomas will be the bow-tie wearing, jolly guy President Lucas.