U of M Names Single Finalist for President Position

The university narrowed the candidate pool to four semifinalists earlier this month, but two of the four candidates declined to be part of a publicly identified pool; Minnesota law requires that the names of presidential finalists be made public.

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents on Friday named just one finalist for the position of university president.

The finalist is Eric Kaler, provost at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York. He was chosen from a pool of 148 nominees and applicants.

As the next step in the selection process, Kaler will visit the U of M campus on Wednesday and Thursday to participate in a question-and-answer session with students, faculty, staff and community members and to interview with the board, according to a U of M press release.

Kaler has held his current post since October 2007. Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University now serves nearly 24,000 students and has 2,100 faculty.

Prior to joining Stony Brook, Kaler was a faculty member at the University of Delaware from 1989 until 2007. He served as the chair of the chemical engineering department from 1996 to 2000 and as dean of the College of Engineering from 2000 until his departure.

But Kaler is no stranger to the U of M, from which he earned a doctorate degree in chemical engineering in 1982. Prior to that, he received an undergraduate degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1978.

Earlier this month, the U of M announced that it had narrowed the pool of presidential candidates down to four semifinalists, all of whom were from outside of the university. But more recently, when the U of M's Board of Regents was ready to name three finalists, two of the three declined to be part of a publicly identified pool and dropped out of the running-leaving Kaler as the sole finalist. Minnesota law requires that the names of presidential finalists be made public.

Current U of M President Robert Bruininks, who assumed his position in 2002, previously announced plans to leave his post in June 2011 after the academic year ends.The U of M's Board of Regents has indicated that it intends to name a successor by the end of this year.