Panel picks 8 finalists for WSU president job

SPOKANE — The committee leading the search for a new Washington State University president has settled on eight finalists, and the process is on track for the Board of Regents to make their selection in April, the panel’s chairman said Friday.

The university initially reached out to some 200 people, and then whittled that list to about 20 prospects before making another round of cuts, said Mike Worthy, chairman of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee.

The final eight include women and members of minority groups, Worthy told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

“It was a diverse process,” he said.

The search committee decided early it would not release candidates’ names, even at the finalist level. That decision was intended to attract quality applicants without placing their careers at risk. Some faculty members have criticized the secrecy and a lack of on-campus interviews.

Worthy said he would like to present three finalists to the Board of Regents, but that number is not set in stone. The next step is a second round of interviews.

“We are on schedule for an April announcement for sure,” Worthy said.

The process seeks to replace former president Elson S. Floyd, who died of complications from colon cancer in June at age 59.

Floyd was considered a very successful president during his eight years at the helm. His crowning legacy was creating a new medical school at WSU-Spokane, which will be named for him.

Worthy noted Floyd was one of five finalists when he was hired in 2007 from the University of Missouri system.

The eight finalists include current university presidents and provosts, all with Ph.D.s. There is also a candidate from the private sector “with incredible credentials,” Worthy said.

Washington State University is based in Pullman, about 70 miles south of Spokane, and has branch campuses in Vancouver, Richland, Spokane and Everett. The system has about 29,000 students.

The search committee worked to identify the experience, background and characteristics that WSU constituents hoped to see in their new leader. It held nearly 30 meetings around the state to gather information.

The new chief executive should prioritize advancing the school to national prominence, securing funding for upcoming goals and bringing Cougar pride to all parts of the university, the committee concluded. The president should also work to integrate the talents of the Greek system more fully into the university; transform all WSU campuses into a system that works together seamlessly; and work to improve accessibility to higher education.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Chestnut mushrooms grow in a fruiting tent on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, at Black Forest Mushrooms in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Fungi town: Downtown Everett home to new indoor gourmet mushroom farm

Black Forest Mushrooms will grow up to 20,000 pounds of tasty mushrooms each month. Its storefront opens Saturday at 2110 Hewitt Ave.

Outside of Angel of the Winds Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Police arrest Angel of the Winds arena worker accused of stabbing boss

The man allegedly walked up to his employer and demanded a raise, before stabbing him in the stomach, witnesses said.

The town post office in Index, Washington on Wedesday, Nov. 29, 2023.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Index, smallest town in Snohomish County, is No. 1 in voter turnout

Index has beaten the Snohomish County ballot return rate in each of the last 10 years. Snohomish County leaders have a few theories as to why.

Founder and Executive Director Pa Ousman Joof, alongside Lynnwood Mayor Christine Frizzell, right, prepares to cut the ribbon during the grand opening of the Washington West African Center on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Born out of struggle, West African Center flourishes in Lynnwood

African music filled the room Saturday at 19203 36th Ave. West, for the grand opening of the nonprofit’s new state headquarters.

An STI clinic opened Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Free STI clinic opens in Everett after 14-year hiatus — and as rates spike

The county-run facility will provide treatment and resources for prevention of sexually transmitted infections.

Graffiti covers the eastern side of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County Cascade Unit on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Again, Boys and Girls Club tagged with suspected gang signs in Everett

Residents on Cascade Drive say their neighborhood has been the scene of excessive graffiti and sometimes gunfire in the past year.

A suspected gas explosion on Wednesday destroyed a house in the 19700 block of 25TH DR SE in Bothell, Washington. (Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue)
After a newly bought Bothell house exploded, experts urge caution

The owners had closed on their purchase of the house just two days earlier. No one was hurt in the explosion.

A sign in front of the AquaSox front office references the upcoming Everett City Council vote on a sum of $1.1 million to give to outside contractors to help upgrade a new stadium on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett AquaSox stadium upgrade gets $1.1M green light from city

City officials want to keep the team in Everett. But will they play in a new stadium downtown in 2027? Or an updated Funko Field?

Snohomish County Councilmember Nate Nehring, left, speaks alongside Councilmember Jared Mead during the Building Bridges Summit on Monday, Dec. 4, 2023, at Western Washington University Everett in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
County Council members launch bipartisan ‘Building Bridges’ nonprofit

Jared Mead, a Democrat, and Nate Nehring, a Republican, hosted an event attended by 100 people this week in Everett.

Assistant Superintendent Patty Dowd greets a family with their child’s laptop and other class materials outside Endeavour Elementary on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, two days after an overnight fire tore through the inside the school in Mukilteo, Washington. Classes will be held online until after winter break to give crews time to make repairs to the building. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Fire closes Endeavour Elementary in Mukilteo until 2024

Classes shifted to remote learning after a fire damaged the school Monday. Laptops were handed out Wednesday.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After 40 days retired, Everett ex-police chief hired to mayor’s office

Everett’s longtime police chief, Dan Templeman, retired Oct. 31. He’s set to start a new role as senior executive director Monday.

The Monroe Correctional Complex on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Unexpected’ deaths are up in Washington’s prisons

At least 29 people died unexpectedly in Washington’s state prisons from July 2022 to June 2023.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.