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Committee launches

BOSTON - The University of Massachusetts Presidential Search Committee held its inaugural meeting today, with committee Chairman James J. Karam saying the panel will conduct "a diligent, wide-ranging, national search that will serve the University and its students well for years to come."

"This is an important and challenging task that we undertake, but one that we embrace with confidence, knowing that our University and its presidency will attract distinguished and dynamic candidates," said Karam, who also serves as vice chairman of the University's Board of Trustees.

Karam said the University was committed to conducting "an open, transparent and inclusive process."  "We will seek out the very best candidates," he added.

The search process began with University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees Chairman Robert J. Manning presenting the 23-member presidential search committee with its official charge. Chairman Manning asked the committee to conduct a national search that will produce a "large and diverse pool of applicants." From that pool, Chairman Manning said, the committee should present the Board of Trustees with an unranked list of finalist candidates. The University's Board of Trustees has the final say in the election of a new President.

Among the decisions made at today's search committee meeting:

  • The committee will hold public hearings on each of the five UMass campuses - Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and the Medical School in Worcester -- when the new academic year begins
  • The committee will engage an academic search firm to help guide the process.

Karam said the committee will consider candidates from inside and outside of academia, noting: "My experience is that great leaders come in many different forms and can be found in different places. Their common attribute is an ability to motivate, to inspire and to show us what is possible. We are looking for a leader who will mobilize support and bring us to new levels of accomplishment."

Karam added: "The selection of a new President is a critical step in any university's history, as a President articulates a vision, sets a tone, provides leadership and moves an institution forward. This is a particularly important moment, as our Commonwealth and nation face challenges - challenges that this University can and will help to address, and address more fully with astute and inspired leadership."

The search is being conducted to find a successor to President Jack M. Wilson, who has announced that he will conclude his presidency when his current term ends on June 30, 2011. Wilson, 64, has led the five-campus University of Massachusetts since September 2, 2003.

The search committee was appointed by Chairman Manning and consists of faculty members from all five campuses, trustees, alumni, academic leaders, community leaders and a student. Trustee Henry M. Thomas III serves as Vice Chair of the University of Massachusetts Presidential Search Committee.

Given that President Wilson has announced his intentions with more than a year left in his term, the University expects to have a successor chosen before his term concludes.

The University has established a search web site,, which provides information about the search process as well as a comment form that serves a means of communicating with the search committee. Members of the University community and the public at large are encouraged to offer their thoughts as the search proceeds.

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073



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Robert P. Connolly
Vice President for Strategic Communications and University Spokesperson
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617.287.7073 (office)

Ann Scales
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