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FHSU decision could come this week

4/27/2014

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

Five candidates. All from different states. And all highly qualified.

Now, with the responsibilities of the search committee completed, Denis Miller and the 18 other committee members await the final decision. And he thinks it's going to be a tough one for the Kansas Board of Regents to make.

"You keep hearing the comment, 'How can you have five extremely qualified people so different and all extremely capable of running the university?' " said Miller, chair of the search committee seeking a new president to succeed the retiring Edward Hammond at Fort Hays State University.

Miller was referring to the five finalists brought to campus during a three-week period in March and April when campus groups and the community got a chance to meet them.

"One of the biggest things was to sell them on Fort Hays," Miller said of the finalists, one of whom is from Hays. The others are from Virginia, Nevada, Missouri and Kentucky.

Each finalist had meetings with several groups on campus, and at the conclusion of the visits, the search committee met one final time April 18, then gave the regents a list of three to five finalists from that group. Miller declined to give the number of finalists the committee presented to the regents.

From the beginning of the campus visits, the regents have pegged the last week of April as their target date to conduct interviews. And the last week of April finally has arrived.

"We're all looking forward to seeing who it is," said Miller, noting the exact date of the interviews, and thus the announcement, "depends on candidates' schedules."

He described the presidential search as "a great learning experience."

"I think everybody walked away with a better understanding of the process and how it works," he said.

After Hammond announced his retirement last October, effective June 30, the regents began the process of looking for Hammond's replacement by selecting Miller, a certified public accountant from Phillipsburg, to chair the search committee.

The regents selected 18 other members for the committee from numerous FHSU constituencies, such as faculty, students, administration, staff and alumni, as well as Hays community members and the Board of Regents.

The five finalists for the presidency who visited campus were Tisa Mason, current vice president for student affairs at Fort Hays; Mirta Martin, dean of the School of Business at Virginia State University in Petersburg; Gregory Mosier, dean of the business school at the University of Nevada-Reno; Michael Droge, president of Park University in Parkville, Mo.; and Tom Jackson IV, vice president for student affairs at the University of Louisville (Ky.).

Hammond -- who came to FHSU in 1987 -- is the longest serving president in FHSU history at 27 years. While he is retiring from the presidency, Hammond will remain at FHSU as a consultant.