Colwell is passed over in bid for Oregon State presidency Head of biotech institute was one of three finalists

November 03, 1995|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF Staff writers Mark Guidera and Doug Birch contributed to this story.

Rita R. Colwell, the head of the University of Maryland $H Biotechnology Institute, was passed over yesterday for the president's job at Oregon State University.

Dr. Colwell was one of three finalists for the post. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education instead tapped Paul G. Risser, the president of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Dr. Colwell, who has been a leader in Maryland's high-profile effort to spur biotechnology research in the state, spent the last four days meeting with faculty, students and others at Oregon State. Dr. Colwell, 60, was unavailable for comment last night, but told a campus group this week that she was willing to take a substantial pay cut to come to Oregon State.

Since 1987, she has run the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, which sponsors research at several sites around the state in genetics, biochemistry and protein engineering.

"The bio-tech industry needs good cheerleaders these days, and she's done that well for Maryland," said William H. Washecka, the Vienna, Va.-based director of high technology and life

sciences for Ernst & Young, the national professional services firm.

Dr. Colwell has applied for other college presidencies. In 1993, she turned down an offer to be president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham after then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer urged her to stay and the University of Maryland Board of Regents gave her a substantial raise. Subsequent raises have resulted in her current salary of $188,000 a year.

The third finalist for the Oregon State job was Gladys Styles Johnston, 56, chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

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