The University Record, November 12, 1996

Bollinger praised as scholar, listener and person of 'great integrity' as Regents vote to offer him the presidency

Editor's Note: Extensive coverage of the final phases of the presidential search will appear in a future Record.

By Julie Peterson
News and Information Services

The Board of Regents, acting as the Presidential Search Committee (PSC), voted unanimously Nov. 5 to offer the University presidency to Lee C. Bollinger, provost and professor of government at Dartmouth College.

Several of the Regents commented on Bollinger's deep love of the University, and Regent Laurence B. Deitch said he believes the U-M presidency is Bollinger's "dream job." Regents also identified Bollinger as a candidate who would "hit the ground running"---an ability they said is particularly important for the University at this stage in its history.

PSC co-chairs, Regents Shirley M. McFee and Nellie M. Varner, were authorized by the Board to begin negotiations with Bollinger. In the event that an agreement is reached and Bollinger accepts the presidency, the Board of Regents will meet again to officially elect him to the position. As of Record press time, the meeting had been tentatively scheduled for 2 p.m. today (Nov. 12) in the Regents Room. A public reception will follow in the Michigan Union Ballroom. All members of the community are invited. For the most current information, call the Regents Office at 936-2255.

In a three-hour public meeting, each of the Regents commented on the strengths they saw in each candidate and the criteria they felt were most important in the selection of a president.

All agreed that the four finalists recommended by the advisory committee---including Stanley A. Chodorow of the University of Pennsylvania; Carol T. Christ of the University of California, Berkeley; and Larry R. Faulkner of the University of Illin ois, Urbana-Champaign---were outstanding candidates who in the near future would be chosen as president of a top university, if not the U-M. Regent Rebecca McGowan said the advisory committee had produced "the cream of the cream of emerging university leadership." McFee noted that "a step up is well within each one's capabilities and aspirations."

However, they noted that Bollinger has the support of many U-M constituencies and would be a "consultative" leader whose management style would serve to "heal" the campus and bring a consensus to diverse groups of stakeholders. Bollinger also was praised as a scholar and an intellectual, a good listener, an individual of "great integrity" and one whose understanding of diverse issues ranging from the future of the Medical Center to intercollegiate athletics would serv e him well as the leader of the large and complex University of Michigan.

Bollinger, who has been provost of Dartmouth College since 1994, began his academic career as assistant professor of law at the U-M in 1973, progressing to associate profes sor and then professor. He served as dean of the Law School in 1987-94. He holds a B.S. degree from the University of Oregon (1968) and a law degree from Columbia University (1971).

At last week's meeting, Regents also spoke about the process each used to arrive at a decision about the candidate they could most support. In addition to reviewing written materials about each candidate and participating in the public interviews , Board members received numerous phone calls, letters and e-mail messages from colleagues across the nation; placed calls to colleagues familiar with each candidate; reviewed carefully the selection criteria they had developed; and pored over hours of videotapes and lengthy transcripts of the candidates' public interviews.

Search consultant Malcolm MacKay of Russell Reynolds Associates Inc. told Regents that the eight-month search for the next U-M president was "the most thorough, disciplined, extensive search" he had seen.