University Of Utah Competed With Several Other Schools In Presidential Search

Ann McClure's picture

It’s something of a sellers’ market this year when it comes to potential leaders for major universities.

Many states other than Utah are shopping for presidential talent, which complicated the University of Utah search that culminates this week.

The state Board of Regents on Friday will interview the last two men standing in the seven-month quest, shrouded in confidentiality, for Michael Young’s successor at the U.’s helm. But despite the competition and last-minute withdrawal of two potential finalists, officials say they are pleased with the caliber of the remaining candidates: U. senior vice president for academic affairs David Pershing, and University of Kentucky provost Kumble Sabbaswamy.

Pershing, a franchise player who has spent his entire academic career at the U., would be the first internal candidate hired in nearly 30 years. He arrived as an assistant professor of chemical engineering in 1977, not long after earning his doctorate at the University of Arizona. A physicist who has served three universities, Subbaswamy is Pershing’s counterpart at Kentucky.

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