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MSU panel picks presidential finalists

BY KATHLEEN FOXkfox@paducahsun.com

MURRAY - The search for Murray State's new president reached its final phase Friday as the search committee narrowed the list to three finalists.

The presidential search committee met in Alexander Hall on campus. The group discussed the remaining candidates during a three-hour executive session. When the meeting reopened, Chairman Steve Williams announced the group had trimmed the list from 10 to three finalists.

Williams said following a high-quality discussion, a unanimous decision was made.

"We have had an outstanding slate of applicants and any of the three finalists could be a great president for Murray State University," he said.

He said the committee will now present the three unranked names to the Board of Regents for approval of the names for consideration. The finalists will be invited to campus during the week of March 11-14 to meet with groups of university constituents and interview with the entire board, although details for the visits haven't been set.

Names will not be released until a day or two prior to each applicant's scheduled visits to allow time for the finalists to inform their employers. Board chairman Constantine Curris will set the times for board interviews and for the quarterly Board of Regents meeting in March. The board will then make a final decision and name a new president to replace interim president Tim Miller.

Williams complimented the dedication and engagement of each member who conducted background research and called applicant references. He also said the make-up of the council was symbolic of Murray State, with many groups from the school, community and region represented.

"I have been truly delighted with the process ... we received a great pool of candidates and narrowing it down from 65 was not easy," he said.

The selection process started in September when the university selected search firm Witt/Kieffer of Oak Brook, Ill. Search firm officials then began researching the university to create an electronic job posting that netted 65 applications.

The group narrowed that list and interviewed the semi-finalists, 10 applicants in two specially called meetings on Jan. 11 and Jan. 12 in Nashville, Tenn. Members of the committee have spent the subsequent weeks conducting additional research, according to Williams.

The panel consists of regents Williams, Susan Guess, Jerry Sue Thornton, Harry Lee Waterfield and student Jeremiah Johnson; Kevin Binfield, president of the Faculty Senate; Don Chamberlain, chairman of the accounting department; Roslyn White, associate director of enrollment management; and alumna Martha Lewis.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

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