Hopkins plans to name new president by Aug. 1

January 16, 1995|By David Folkenflik | David Folkenflik,Sun Staff Writer

Johns Hopkins University trustees have decided on an intense search to name a replacement for President William C. Richardson by the time he leaves Aug. 1.

Trustee Chairman Morris W. Offit said that the executive committee had named a 19-member search committee, consisting of 14 Hopkins trustees, three students, one faculty member and one administrator.

Although trustees initially weighed whether to name an interim president to allow for a longer search, Mr. Offit charged the committee with proposing a new president to the trustees within five or six months. That's significantly shorter than the 12 to 18 months officials at other campuses said it usually takes to choose a chief for a major university.

Mr. Offit said the committee would pursue officials throughout higher education. When he was selected in 1990, Dr. Richardson was a vice president at Pennsylvania State University. Professors said they expect someone of a similar stature to be chosen again.

In addition to the search committee, Mr. Offit said the university would also use a professional headhunting firm. The practice has proliferated on university campuses, but it has also drawn fire in recent months. In November, the president of the American Association of University Professors denounced the use of outside consultants, saying they tended to look at nonacademic figures and often cut faculty out of the process.

"The firms tend to demand secrecy so the names cannot be said outside," AAUP spokeswoman Iris Molotsky said. "We feel it's very important that faculty are able to meet with candidates who make the short lists."

But Mr. Offit said the firms are able to check references and credentials swiftly and cast a wide net in the world of academia.

The committee members are: Mr. Offit; trustee Lenox Baker; vice chairman Michael R. Bloomberg; nursing graduate student Alexis Bakos; trustee Andrew J. Bozzelli; trustee George L. Bunting Jr.; trustee Constance R. Caplan; freshman William J. Crawford; continuing studies graduate student Marlene David; trustee Douglas A. Fellman; English professor Frances Ferguson; associate medical school dean Leon Gordis; trustee Robert D. H. Harvey; trustee Stuart S. Janney III; trustee Judy C. Lewent; trustee Walter D. Pinkard Jr.; trustee Mark E. Rubenstein; trustee Frank Savage; and trustee vice chairman R. Champlin Sheridan Jr.

Dr. Richardson stunned the campus last month when he announced that he would leave Hopkins for the presidency of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Mich., the nation's second largest philanthropy. Because he had been on campus for less than five years, and because he was expected to lead the $900 million fund-raising campaign announced in September, Dr. Richardson's decision caught his colleagues off-guard.

Dr. Richardson was also considered one of the nation's top spokesmen for research universities in Washington, D.C. Johns Hopkins receives more federal dollars than any other campus, rendering the university particularly vulnerable to the Republican cost-cutting promised in Washington.

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