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Search committee names four finalists for Amherst chancellorship

AMHERST - A search committee today designated four finalists for the University of Massachusetts Amherst chancellorship, completing a major step in the process of selecting a new leader for the University's flagship campus.

Chosen as finalists were: Martin Hall, deputy vice chancellor of the University of Cape Town; Robert C. Holub, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee; Harris Pastides, vice president for research and health sciences at the University of South Carolina and executive director of the University of South Carolina Research Foundation; and Satish K. Tripathi, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

"We are delighted to recommend these four distinguished educational leaders, any one of whom would make an outstanding Chancellor and would lead our flagship campus to new levels of distinction," said Jennifer C. Braceras, chairman of the 25-member UMass Amherst Chancellor Search Committee.

"We were truly pleased to see candidates of the highest caliber step forward and enter this selection process. The quality of the candidate field is a testament to the way UMass Amherst is viewed across the country and throughout academia. Because this field was so strong, the committee was able to designate outstanding finalists who are able to inspire and are ready to lead," added Braceras, a 1989 graduate of UMass Amherst who currently sits on the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees.

The names of the finalists were transmitted to University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson, who will eventually recommend a single candidate to the University's 22-member Board of Trustees. President Wilson praised the committee and the candidates.
"I deeply appreciate the work this committee has done, work that has led to the selection of exceptional candidates for this critical leadership position," President Wilson said. "Chairman Braceras and her colleagues on the search committee have served the University in an exemplary fashion."

"This committee has devoted countless hours to this task and its diligent efforts are now being rewarded. These are great candidates for a great University," President Wilson said.

"I would like to express my gratitude and the University's gratitude to Jennifer Braceras for her distinguished service as chairman. A UMass graduate and a Trustee, she brought great energy, skill and passion to this task," President Wilson added.

The UMass Amherst Chancellor Search Committee was established last August. The committee held 21 public input meetings, with those sessions taking place in Amherst, Boston and Springfield, as well as seven business meetings and a series of interviews with Chancellor candidates.

Members of the search committee expressed satisfaction with the process and the candidate slate.

"I was delighted with the number of highly qualified candidates we interviewed during the chancellor search. We met candidates who scored very highly in key categories like experience, academic background, research-funding success, demonstrated leadership ability, fund-raising, sensitivity to student issues and who displayed many other desirable traits. I am confident that this process will culminate with the selection of someone who will be an excellent campus CEO and a leader in system-wide collaboration and cooperation," said Eugene Isenberg, a search committee member and president of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Foundation.

"This has been a very inclusive process, with the committee mounting an unprecedented outreach effort, all in the interest of recommending the very best candidates for Chancellor of the system's flagship Amherst campus. The candidate pool was strong and talented, which made for a great challenge as we sought to select the top candidates from among many with high-caliber experience in higher education. I believe that we have been able to identify the best candidates from a very deep pool. This is an exciting time for UMass Amherst," said Kathleen Mitchell, vice chairman of the search committee and the president of the UMass Amherst Alumni Association.

"UMass Amherst needs a Chancellor who can lead us toward the goal of raising the flagship campus to the top ranks of public research universities.  Our search has yielded dozens of outstanding candidates who we believe can help us achieve the flagship Massachusetts deserves. We all felt unified in the difficult problem of narrowing a large field of very well-qualified leaders," said Max Page, a search committee member and president of the Massachusetts Society of Professors.

The process now continues with the finalist candidates coming to Amherst for daylong campus visits. After that, President Wilson, who will meet with the candidates, will make an appointment, which must be approved by the University's Board of Trustees.
About the candidates:

  • Martin Hall is deputy vice chancellor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and a professor in its Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Graduate School of Business. He is a visiting professor at Stanford University. Hall also has served as dean of Higher Education Development, head of the Department of Archaeology and director of the Centre for African Studies at the University of Cape Town. Before joining the university, he worked in archeological positions with museums and in the field. He earned his undergraduate and doctoral degrees in Archeology and Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, England.
  • Robert C. Holub is the provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a professor of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures. Before joining the University of Tennessee, he was with the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as chair of the German Department; Chair of the German, Spanish, and Portuguese Administrative Unit; and Chair of the Comparative Literature and French Administrative Unit before becoming dean of the Undergraduate Division of the College of Letters and Science. He holds a Ph.D. in German Literature, with a minor in Comparative Literature, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.A.s in German Literature and Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in Natural Sciences.
  • Harris Pastides is the vice president for Research and Health Sciences at the University of South Carolina and executive director of the University of South Carolina Research Foundation. He also has served as dean of the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina and as a member of the faculty and chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He holds a Ph.D. in Epidemiology and an M.Phil. in Epidemiology from Yale University, an M.P.H. from the Yale University School of Medicine, a Certificate in Economics from the American Institute for Foreign Study and a B.S. in Biology from the State University of New York at Albany.
  • Satish K. Tripathi is provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he is also a professor of Computer Science and Engineering. Prior to joining SUNY-Buffalo, Tripathi served as Johnson professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Dean of Engineering at the University of California at Riverside. He has also served as department chair and professor of Computer Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park. He earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Computer Sciences from the University of Toronto, where he also earned a Master of Science in Computer Sciences. He received a Master of Science in Statistics from the University of Alberta, a Master of Science in Statistics from Banaras Hindu University, First Rank, where he also earned a Bachelor of Sciences in Physics, Math, and Statistics.

Dr. Thomas W. Cole Jr. is serving as interim Chancellor of UMass Amherst until a permanent Chancellor is selected.

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073 (office) or 617-548-0238 (cell)


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