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Regents could choose University of Utah president Friday

Published January 19, 2012 2:37 pm

Education • Board that runs state's higher education will meet in closed session.
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Meeting in executive session at the Rice-Eccles Stadium tower on Friday morning, the state Board of Regents is expected to interview the two finalists for the University of Utah's presidential post. Regents may then vote on whom to hire and announce the winner in public.

Regents are choosing between two proven administrators with similar career histories at major research universities.

Kumble Subbaswamy, a physicist, is provost at the University of Kentucky. David Pershing, a U. professor of chemical engineering, likewise holds that school's top academic post, a position known as senior vice president for academic affairs. Both were deans previously and have been busy scientific researchers.

After culling a pool of 80 candidates, a search committee had recommended Subbaswamy and Pershing to the Regents. The two other leading contenders withdrew their names from consideration.

Expected to attend Friday's interviews is U. trustees chairman Clark Ivory, who served on the diverse search committee, and possibly the board's vice chair. The presence of institutional trustees, or their "designees" was approved by Regents last year to give trustees greater involvement in presidential selection. But the policy doesn't mandate trustees' participation in Regents' deliberations.

The finalists spent Thursday meeting privately with groups on the U. campus.

The winner succeeds Michael Young, who departed for University of Washington last year after seven years leading the U. Regents have not tapped an internal candidate to lead the school in almost 30 years, although they did promote insiders in selecting Stan Albrecht to lead Utah State University and Ann Millner to lead Weber State University.