Montana State University

Three finalists selected for MSU president's position

September 9, 2009 -- MSU News Service

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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Bozeman -- Three finalists in the search for a new president of Montana State University have been selected and will visit campus in late September and early October for interviews, said Clayton Christian, chair of the MSU Presidential Search Advisory Committee and vice chair of the Montana Board of Regents.

In addition to their interviews, each candidate will spend two days on campus where they will meet with a wide range of groups, hold a public forum and have an opportunity to get acquainted with the campus and the Bozeman area.

The 22-member search committee started with a pool of 60 applicants and then narrowed the pool to nine for off-site or "airport interviews," Christian said.

"The quality of our nine semi-finalists was exceptional," Christian said. "The committee chose three to be finalists, but any number of them would be excellent leaders for MSU."

The three finalists are:

Steven Angle, provost, Wright State University. Angle holds a bachelor's in chemistry from the University of California, Irvine; a master's in organic chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles; and a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of California, Irvine.

Waded Cruzado-Salas, executive vice president and provost, New Mexico State University. Cruzado-Salas holds a bachelor's in comparative literature from the University of Puerto Rico; a master's in Spanish from the University of Texas, Arlington; and a doctorate in humanities from the University of Texas, Arlington.

Steven Leath, vice president of research and sponsored programs at the University of North Carolina. He has a bachelor's in plant sciences from Pennsylvania State University; a master's in plant sciences from the University of Delaware; and a doctorate in plant pathology from the University of Illinois.

"I think the students, faculty and staff of MSU, as well as our alumni and the state at large, will be very excited by these three candidates," Christian said.

"Great credit goes to the work of the committee," Christian said. "Each one of them has brought insight and energy to this process."

The full search committee will meet again Oct. 6 to review all the information gathered from the finalists' visits. The committee will evaluate each candidate's strengths and weaknesses, but will not rank them. The committee's evaluation will then be forwarded to Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Sheila Stearns, who will review the information and make her own assessment of each candidate's strengths and weakness for consideration by the Board of Regents.

Christian said the search process is on track to have a new president take office by the beginning of the year.

"I feel confident we'll make that time frame," he said.

In March, MSU President Geoff Gamble, 67, announced his plans to retire after leading the university for nine years. Gamble has promised to stay in office until his successor is found.

The schedule for the candidates' public forums and community receptions - both held on the same day - follows:

Angle: Monday, Sept. 21, 3 p.m.-4 p.m. - Strand Union Building Ballroom B; community reception, 5:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m. - The Great Room of the MSU Foundation, at the southwest corner of 11th Avenue and Lincoln Street.

Leath: Monday, Sept. 28, 3 p.m.-4 p.m. - The Great Room of the MSU Foundation, at the southwest corner of 11th Avenue and Lincoln Street; community reception, 5:30 p.m. -6:30 p.m. - The Great Room of the MSU Foundation.

Cruzado-Salas: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 3 p.m.-4 p.m. - The Great Room of the MSU Foundation, at the southwest corner of 11th Avenue and Lincoln Street; community reception, 5:30 p.m. -6:30 p.m. - The Great Room of the MSU Foundation.

Contact: Clayton Christian, chair of the MSU Presidential Search Advisory Committee and vice chairman of the Montana Board of Regents, 406-728-1500; Jim Rimpau, vice chair of the MSU Presidential Search Advisory Committee and MSU vice president of planning and chief information officer, 406-994-1625.