SALT LAKE CITY — The Board of Regents on Thursday announced the names of four finalists to be the next president of Weber State University. One of them could be named WSU’s new president as early as Tuesday.
The finalists were selected from a pool of nearly 50 applicants. One candidate currently works at the University of Utah, and another earned his bachelor’s degree at Brigham Young University.
“These people are the best of the best,” said Alan E. Hall, a search committee member and president of the Weber State University Board of Trustees. “These are exceptional individuals with years of history and experience in institutions of higher learning. Any one of them would be able to take Weber State to the next level.”
The candidates, in alphabetical order, are:
• Kathryn Cruz-Uribe, provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University, Monterey Bay, since 2007. Cruz-Uribe is currently second-in-command at Cal State-Monterey Bay and leads all aspects of the academic operations at the university. She has overseen the development and implementation of a new university strategic plan and a new five-year academic plan. She previously served as interim dean and then dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Northern Arizona University.
Cruz-Uribe graduated magna cum laude with a BA in anthropology and art from Middlebury College and holds both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago.
• Kim Hunter-Reed, chief of staff of the Louisiana Board of Regents since 2008. Reed oversees initiatives to strengthen completion, improve accountability and increase quality within Louisiana’s public institutions of higher education. She spent five years at Southeastern Louisiana University, where she was executive assistant to the president and interim vice president for student affairs.
Reed previously served as deputy commissioner for public affairs for the Louisiana Board of Regents and executive vice president for the University of Louisiana System. Reed has also served in the administrations of two Louisiana governors. Reed holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a master’s in public administration from Louisiana State University, and a Ph.D. in higher education policy from Southern University and A&M College.
• Michael K. Thomas, president and CEO of the New England Board of Higher Education since 2008. Thomas has been with the NEBHE since 2002, also serving as senior director of policy and research and senior vice president. He previously worked at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., as executive assistant to the president and assistant professor, and as coordinator of institutional research and analysis.
He graduated with honors from Brigham Young University, earning a BA in philosophy. He earned a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs administration from Teachers College at Columbia University, a master’s and doctorate of education in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University and an MBA from Boston University. He served as trustee and vice chair of Worcester State University in Massachusetts.
• Charles A. Wight, associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of the graduate school at University of Utah since 2006. Wight supports graduate students throughout the institution and promotes academic quality through a rigorous system of program reviews. Wight came to U of U in 1984 as an assistant professor of chemistry, becoming a full professor in 1993. Since then he has held numerous positions at the university, including associate dean for undergraduate studies and assistant vice president for continuing education.
Wight graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BS in chemistry from the University of Virginia and received a Ph.D. in chemistry from California Institute of Technology.
The finalists will be on the Weber State Ogden campus Monday to meet privately with groups representing faculty, staff, students and administration. On Tuesday, the Board of Regents will interview the finalists in a closed session.
“They are all really qualified, so it will really boil down to the right fit,” Hall said. “That is why they will be talking with the faculty, the trustees and the students. The candidates are all good, but we need to determine which is going to be the best for our institution. We have to see if they have the harmony, and understand the tradition and culture of Weber State, and what we have developed here.”
The Board or Regents may convene a public meeting at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in Weber State’s Shepherd Ballrooms, to announce the new president. The board might also elect to make the selection at a later date.
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Bruce Davis, WSU’s vice provost and dean of continuing education, also served on the presidential search committee.
“I am very impressed with the finalists we have,” he said. “They passed a rigorous screening and interview process to get where they are. I think any of them would be a fine president for Weber State. But they do have big shoes to fill, with Ann leaving.”
F. Ann Millner, current WSU president, last March announced her intention to resign once a replacement can be put in office.