Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass search committee names two finalists for system president

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XiaoXiao Hu/Daily Collegian

XiaoXiao Hu/Daily Collegian

A search committee established by the University of Massachusetts named two finalists for the position of system president Thursday.

The finalists are Marty Meehan, current chancellor of UMass Lowell and a former member of he United States House of Representatives, and John Quelch, professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and the former dean, vice president and distinguished professor of International Management at China Europe International Business School.

“Everything they’ve done for their campus communities is impressive,” said Student Trustee Sarah Freudoson. “I think the Board of Trustees will be delighted with the two candidates.”

Current UMass President Robert Caret announced in December that he would be stepping down in order to become the chancellor of the 12-campus University of Maryland system.

According to a UMass news release, the Board of Trustees could potentially elect the next system president when it holds a special meeting in Boston Friday.

“There’s a good chance (they decide),” said Ann Scales, spokesperson for the UMass President’s Office. “They are expected to take some action.”

If the committee does not make a decision, the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is in June.

If it does make a decision, the process will have been conducted even more quickly than hoped. When the committee was formed in early February, Robert Connolly, a UMass spokesperson, said the goal was to appoint a new president by the time Caret leaves office in June in order to avoid having an interim president. He said that previous search processes have taken anywhere from six months to a year.

Despite the speed with which it has worked, the 21-member search committee, composed of students, faculty, administrators, trustees and alumni recommended through various student and faculty governing organizations on the five UMass campuses, has been comprehensive, according to Freudson, who is a member of the committee.

“We did everything very thoroughly,” she said. “(The timeline) was not that big of an issue.”

According to Scales, Korn Ferry, the consulting firm hired by the committee, brought 20 potential candidates to the committee in early April, after contacting nearly 80 prospects. The list was whittled down to Meehan and Quelch over the course of two consecutive days of interviews held on April 13 and 14 and today’s public meeting, the committee’s third meeting since its creation.

The new president is expected to take office July 1.

Anthony Rentsch can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Anthony_Rentsch.

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