Curators at the University of Missouri are close to choosing the next president for the four-campus system.
They have scheduled a specially called closed-door meeting for 12:30 p.m. Friday in Columbia, and a person close to the presidential selection process told The Star that a preferred candidate for system president could be selected this week. But it could be another week before a contract agreement is reached and the board is ready to announce its choice.
Two weeks ago, the 16-member university Presidential Search Committee, made up of curators, alumni, two faculty members, a staff member and two students, held two days of closed-door meetings at the Kansas City Airport Marriott hotel but had little to say about how close they were to a final selection.
According to the university’s timeline for the selection, curators were expected to receive a final recommendation on a candidate from the search committee the week of Oct. 2.
When the committee was formed last February, curators projected the university would complete the selection process by late November or early December.
Since the process began, no information has been released about the professional background of the candidates who’ve been interviewed or how many of them were being considered.
That hasn’t stopped speculation. Reports have surfaced that Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis may be a finalist for the UM position. McDavis, the university’s first black president, has held his current position since 2004. But he has announced he is leaving the university and that his last day leading the Athens campus would be June 30.
Ohio University spokeswoman Carly Glick said that “we have no comment” when asked whether McDavis is a finalist for the Missouri presidency.
The new president will replace Tim Wolfe, who resigned last November under mounting pressure from faculty and students who staged a series of protests over racial issues on the Columbia campus. The protests focused a national spotlight on MU and set off similar racially motivated protests on campuses across the country.
Michael Middleton has been serving as interim president of the UM System since November. He came out of retirement to take the post until a new president could be found.