News: Press Releases

February 27, 2015

UMass Presidential Search Committee selects firm to aid search

  • The UMass System
Defines characteristics it would like to see in next president

BOSTON - Feb. 27, 2015: The University of Massachusetts Presidential Search Committee held its first meeting today and selected the international executive recruitment firm Korn Ferry to help identify finalist candidates to succeed President Robert L. Caret.

The 21-member Search Committee also approved a position statement that underscored the importance of UMass’s historic role as a land grant university and defined the attributes needed in the next president.  The committee’s task is to assist the UMass Board of Trustees in conducting a national search for a new leader of the five-campus University of Massachusetts system.

Board of Trustees Chairman Victor Woolridge of Springfield instructed the Search Committee to submit to Trustees at the earliest possible date an unranked list of candidates deemed by the committee to be worthy of final consideration. He said the goal is to have the next president chosen by July 1.

``I am confident that this committee will deliver on its charge and present the Board of Trustees with a list of finalists who can and deserve to carry the banner for the University of Massachusetts for years to come,’’ Chairman Woolridge said.

The Search Committee was formed on Feb. 6 and consists of faculty members from all five UMass campuses, three students, community and business leaders and members of the UMass Board of Trustees, including Secretary of Education James A. Peyser.

Its first act of business was unanimously approving Korn Ferry as the winning bidder to help undertake the search for a new president. The firm has conducted more than 100 presidential searches, including recent searches for large public universities such as Pennsylvania State University, Texas A & M University, City College of New York, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

At today’s meeting, the Board of Trustees’ charge to the Search Committee included asking it to conduct a presidential search ``that is inclusive and transparent and that is focused on identifying top-tier candidates who possess the skills and attributes needed to lead the University of Massachusetts and advance its mission of service to the Commonwealth, the nation and the world.’’

President Caret, who has served since July 1, 2011, has announced his resignation and will assume the chancellorship of the University System of Maryland.

``It certainly is this Committee’s goal to conduct a search that is open, thorough and wide-ranging,’’ said Search Committee Chairman Rob Manning. ``We will seek to attract and assess the very best candidates – and I am confident that our Committee will meet its charge, which is to recommend outstanding finalist candidates to the Board of Trustees, which is ultimately responsible for the selection of a new President.’’

Chairman Manning said of the Search Committee: ``We will seek to move expeditiously and efficiently. Expeditiously because we have an impending vacancy to fill and because the rhythms of the academic calendar behoove us to move forward. And efficiently because that, inherently, is the best way to do business -- and because we are so respectful of their time and many responsibilities. ”

In its position statement, the Search Committee said it seeks an accomplished leader with the vision to chart a clear course in a changing landscape. An emphasis was placed on the need for an entrepreneurial spirt to lead the university through challenging financial times and a candidate committed to engaging alumni across the university system and aggressively furthering fundraising efforts.

Furthermore, the statement said that ``the candidate must be an exceptional person possessing a distinguished record and body of work in academia or in another sphere of activity, whose experience, accomplishments, commitment to and passion for this undertaking is at the same world-class level as the University he or she seeks to lead.’’

Chairman Manning said that he intends to host public forums on each of the campuses, which he encouraged Search Committee members to attend, with the goal of allowing members of the UMass campus community an opportunity to weigh in and share their views.  He said that other members of the UMass community and the general public can communicate with the committee through

Contact: Ann Scales, 617-287-4084; Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073