CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia University Board of Governors approved a 20-member search committee on Monday to select the school's next president, and the board's chairman acknowledged the search is proceeding quickly.
The committee is a "cross-section of the university community," and members were nominated by various WVU constituency groups, according to board chairman James Dailey.
The Board of Governors plans to have all applications for WVU's next president in by late February, with plans to hire a replacement for former WVU president Jim Clements by early June.
Clements announced in November that he had accepted the position of president at Clemson University. E. Gordon Gee, former president of Ohio State University and WVU, among other schools, is serving as interim president.
"I'm into this thing about three or four hours, and the university is still standing. I'm feeling very good about it. I've done no harm thus far," Gee joked at his first WVU BOG meeting Monday. "I'm having a marvelous time. I think that one of the things I want on the record is this university is blessed with really great people, and it's been wonderful. We've been off and running this morning talking about a number of things."
Gee will serve as an advisor and non-voting member of the presidential search committee approved at Monday's special meeting.
Three members from the BOG will serve on the search committee: Thomas Flaherty, vice-chairman for the board and a Charleston attorney; Ellen Cappellanti, board secretary and a Charleston attorney; and Diane Lewis, board president and business owner in Morgantown.
Dailey, who will chair the search and serve as a non-voting member, admitted the timeline for the presidential selection process is speedy, and said while board members are hoping to meet that five-month deadline, it all depends on the pool of candidates.
"It is a quick search. I guess the main thrust behind trying to have someone in place by June is so that, assuming we've had a selection made, that person then would be able to utilize the months leading up to August -- when school starts -- to get their feet wet," he said. "The timeline was set up primarily so that the new president, no matter who he or she may be, would have a resting period in the summer time to get to know the staff, and get a better feel for what goes on and how it goes on.
"If we got 500 applications for the new president, I don't think we'd make a June delivery date. But my hopes are we will get some really highly-qualified folks to apply, simply because of the position that the university's currently in," Dailey said. "The fact that Gordon Gee is here even as a mentor ... as a result of Gee's pedigree, and the way Jim Clements left the university in such a fine shape, I think we will get some really top-notch applicants."
The June deadline also coincides with a potentially crucial time for the board: four of its members' terms expire, with new terms slated to begin July 1.