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ISSUE 119 VOL 11 PUBLISHED 2/24/2006

Search for new president intensifying

By Maren Anderson
Contributing Writer

Friday, February 24, 2006

A sense of anticipation is growing on campus as students, faculty, administrators and staff await the Board of Regents’ new presidential appointment.

The confidentiality of the search has augmented the curiosity of many St. Olaf students. New postings on the Presidential Search Updates website provide insight into the ongoing search.

On Feb. 7, Tad Piper, chairman of the search committee, posted an on-line summary of the latest actions of the search committee. He stated that the committee interviewed a highly qualified and very interested pool of candidates at the end of January.

Now the committee is looking to decrease the number of candidates. Piper mentioned that the next round of interviews will include "more intense interviews."

Professor of Physics David Nitz, a faculty representative on the committee said, "We want the community to know that we have made good progress in the search."

Also included in the online summary are quotations from the candidates highlighting their impressions of St. Olaf.

One candidate said, "It is important to be part of the community, not just in the community."

Another interview yielded the comment that "being president at St. Olaf is not a job, it’s a way of life."

All of these statements provide some idea of the type of candidates this position attracts. The consummate St. Olaf influence on the community, the importance of a strong leader and emphasis on the church college reflect the qualities that the search committee hopes to find in one candidate.

Associate Professor of Social Work Mary Carlsen, the other faculty representative on the committee, said that there have been many factors that have contributed to the success and the high quality of the search so far.

"It is an exciting process and we have been very pleased with our search firm, SpencerStuart and with the pool of candidates," she said.

Carlsen’s comments were echoed by Nitz.

"We are optimistic because of the quality of candidates in the pool,” Nitz said.

According to Carlsen, the committee has adhered to its schedule thus far.

"We are on track to have a fine president to lead St. Olaf beginning July 1," Carlsen said.

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