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Presidential search committee gathering nominations, advice

STANFORD -- From advertising in the New York Times to open letters to the Stanford community, from telephone conversations with national leaders to in-person interviews with campus groups, Stanford University's presidential search committee is "casting as wide a net as possible" in search of advice and nominations, executive vice chair Jean Fetter said.

"At this stage, we are preparing to receive nominations," Fetter said. "Our consultation will be as broad an exercise as possible. I hope there will be no one in the Stanford community who feels they don't have an opportunity to contribute ideas and nominations."

The committee is seeking Stanford's ninth president and a successor to Donald Kennedy, who announced in July that he would step down in August 1992.

"We are looking without boundaries," said John M. Lillie, chair of the search committee and a Stanford trustee. "And we don't just mean that geographically."

Lillie, president and chief operating officer of American President Companies, and search committee vice chair James J. Sheehan, chair of the Faculty Senate, have said they hope to better the schedule that calls for them to report by June to the Board of Trustees, which will name the new president.

The committee's consultation efforts include:

  • An open letter to the Stanford community, which has run in Campus Report and the Stanford Daily, and which will appear in the next Stanford Observer. The letter seeks nominations and "a wide range of opinions," which may be directed to search committee members or mailed to Fetter at P.O. Box 2310, Stanford, CA 94309-2310.
  • An extensive direct mailing to all members of the Academic Council, fellows of the Hoover Institution and all alumni, to be completed this week. "We are making every effort to minimize overlap in mailings," Fetter said, "and we apologize for any duplication, which is a consequence of limited staff and time."
  • Interviews with campus groups. The search committee has divided into four groups, with each of the four conducting a full day of interviews. The talks have begun with Advisory Board members, deans, vice presidents and other faculty and administrators. Additional open meetings with faculty, staff and students will be scheduled at the beginning of winter quarter, which opens Jan. 7.

"We want to solicit ideas, concerns, anything people would like the search committee to hear about the selection of the president," Fetter said.

  • Advertisements in such newspapers as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as in national publications that reach African American, American Indian, Asian American and Hispanic audiences.
  • Individual letters to university presidents, provosts, school deans, school advisory boards and foundation heads nationwide, seeking advice and nominations, with mailing to be completed this week.
  • Telephone calls by committee members to national leaders well informed on higher education issues. The committee has compiled the list and begun the calls, which are scheduled to be completed by mid- December.
  • Telephone interviews that Fetter has completed with the leaders of search committees at 10 other colleges and universities that have conducted presidential searches in recent years, in an effort to learn from their experience.

The search committee was named Oct. 28 by James C. Gaither, president of the Board of Trustees. The committee includes six faculty members; six trustees, all of whom are Stanford alumni; one student; one staff member; and one non-trustee alumna:

Trustees - Lillie, Atherton; Peter S. Bing, Los Angeles; George H. Hume, San Francisco; John B. McCoy, Columbus, Ohio; Luis G. Nogales, Los Angeles; and Susan W. Prager, Los Angeles.

Faculty members - Sheehan, history; Steven Chu, physics; Joseph W. Goodman, electrical engineering; Condoleezza Rice, political science; Saul A. Rosenberg, medicine; and John B. Shoven, economics. (Sheehan and Goodman also are Stanford alumni.)

Student - Kasi Allen Fuller, doctoral candidate in education.

Staff member - James A. Larimore, assistant dean of student affairs and director of the American Indian Program Office and of the Native American Cultural Center.

Alumna - Beverly P. Ryder, Los Angeles.



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