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No leaks on new leader at UMW
The University of Mary Washington may name its next president on Monday

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Date published: 3/9/2008


Professor Brenda Vogel was on the University of Mary Washington's presidential search committee, but even she says she doesn't know who will be the school's next leader.

"I can't wait until Monday," said Vogel, director of the teaching education program at UMW's College of Graduate and Professional Studies in Stafford County. "I'm anxious to see who the final choice was, and I am very anxious to see our institution back on track with someone who's a permanent president."

Unlike UMW's last presidential search, this one has been hush-hush. But many expect the secrecy to end tomorrow--the first day of a weeklong celebration of the school's 100th anniversary.

Rector Bill Poole has said UMW will make an "important announcement" about its presidential search, but he wouldn't elaborate in an interview Friday.

"The process has not been completed," he said. "All I can say is that the announcement Monday will deal with a personnel matter, and that's as far as I can go right now."

UMW hopes to have a new president on campus July 1. Vice President Rick Hurley has served as acting president since last spring, when William Frawley was fired after two DUI arrests.

On Feb. 8, Poole said that the search committee planned to conduct "in-depth" interviews with candidates over the next two weeks. The committee recommends candidates to the board of visitors, which makes the final decision.

All but six of the presidential search committee's 15 members are on UMW's board of visitors. English professor Claudia Emerson and Vogel are the two professors on the committee.

Emerson and UMW Student Government Association President Krishna Sinha, who also was on the search committee, could not be reached for comment.

Committee members were told to direct all inquiries to Poole. They signed a form agreeing not to talk about candidates.

During its last presidential search, in 2006, UMW announced the names of three finalists and hosted public forums for them. That didn't happen this time around because the board said revealing names would discourage some from applying.

"I know that a lot of people wanted it to be open, but once we got involved in it I understood the wisdom of keeping it a closed search," Vogel said.

None of 2006's finalists had been college presidents. Frawley was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at George Washington University before being hired.

A confidential search attracts more experienced candidates, Vogel said.

In fact, computer science professor Ernest Ackermann said he has heard all of the finalists are presidents or acting presidents. He said he enjoyed hearing from the top candidates three years ago, but said he has been told that all of this year's finalists are "really strong."

Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402
Email: jbranscome@freelancestar.com

University of Mary Washington computer science professor Ernest Ackermann was on the school's presidential search committee in 1976, the year William Anderson was hired as president. Mary Washington College didn't name any of the finalists, he said.

Virginia Tech did not reveal finalists during its searches in 1993 and 2000, said spokesman Mark Owczarski.

The College of William & Mary announced five finalists for president in 2005.

In 2006, Norfolk State University named the top three candidates for the job of president.

The University of Mary Washington plans to make an important announcement about its presidential search tomorrow at 4 p.m. in Dodd Auditorium. An informal reception will follow in the Woodard Campus Center's Great Hall. The board of visitors will privately discuss a "personnel matter" an hour before the announcement.