Chancellor search 'world-class'

05/19/2006
By From the Lowell Sun

By DAVID PERRY, Sun Staff
Lowell Sun

UMass President Jack Wilson spent yesterday at UMass Lowell, telling administrators, faculty and staff that the search for a chancellor to replace the retiring William Hogan will be a world-class effort.

Hogan, 73, announced on May 1 that he is leaving the Lowell campus after more than four decades there, including the past 25 as chancellor.

Wilson, who has credited Hogan as "the inventor" of the Lowell campus, said an interim chancellor will be in place when Hogan leaves July 3.

Wilson said he is "95 percent certain" that the interim chancellor will not be a candidate as the full-time replacement for Hogan, "but I want to leave myself some wiggle room."

Wilson told a mid-afternoon gathering of about 60 faculty in Alumni Lounge that a search committee will be selected by mid-summer, and their work should take "nine months, give or take three months."

He said the process will be a "world-class," "nationwide" search.

With Hogan's longevity, most people have not experienced a time like this in their careers here, he said. And he knew there would be some anxiety involved.

"If you've been doing something for 25 years, you kind of know the territory," he told the faculty. "And when something like this happens for the first time 25 years, the institution is going to ask itself, what's next?"

Going into a search, "everybody decides what kind of person they want." Ideally, the man or woman selected would be "as brilliant as Albert Einstein, as humanitarian as Albert Schweitzer, with the leadership skills of Nelson Mandela, someone with the conscience of Martin Luther King, with the people skills of Bill Clinton and hits like David Ortiz."

The search committee, not yet named, will be composed of "outstanding" representatives from the ranks of faculty, students, staff, alumni, trustees and community leaders. They may decide to hire a search consultant, which he said he would recommend.

In the end, Wilson will take a name to the UMass board of trustees for approval.

"I am very confident that this is a very attractive job that will attract attractive candidates," he said.

He said a "high priority" for the next chancellor will be fundraising.

He said the five-campus system -- in addition to Lowell, there are campuses in Boston, Amherst, Dartmouth and Worcester -- is "stable financially but not wealthy."

Faculty concerns included how much change might be undertaken during the interim, how much the school would continue to emphasize its research an d scholarship, and if the university would continue its deep commitment, fostered greatly under Hogan, to serving working-class and immigrant students.

He said all of those things are important, and stressed that he wanted to hear concerns for now.

"I am willing to do the right thing, and you can count on that," said Wilson.

"In the end," he also said, "this will be a great institution depending on what you do, not what I do."

Wilson said he would take "a couple of days to put my feet up" and sort out what he heard on the visit.

Though Wilson has been president of the UMass system for just two years, this is not his first search for a chancellor.

A year ago, Dr. Michael Collins was named chancellor of UMass Boston, ending a seven-month search by a 22-member committee.