Universities vie for Baker

By Michael McCulloh

The demand for NIU Provost Kendall Baker continues.

Baker is under consideration for the presidency of three universities and also is one of three finalists at each school. The point at which Baker will know if he can pack his bags and leave DeKalb is indefinite, however.

In addition to the top spot at Northern Michigan University at Marquette, Baker is a finalist at Arkansas State University at Jonesboro and the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

ASU is a public institution with an enrollment of about 8,000 while UND is home to approximately 10,000.

Dave Vorland, director of University Advancement at UND, said there were 60 names in the original pool and Baker is one of three finalists being interviewed April 24.

Baker’s competition includes Jay Noren, vice chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Bruce Grube, former vice chancellor of California Polytechnic University.

Baker has been an NMU finalist for several weeks and the school is ready to make its decision soon.

Matt Surrell, secretary of the Board of Control Office for NMU, said he wasn’t sure when the decision will be made. An editor with the school’s newspaper, The North Wind, refuted Surrell’s statement and said a decision could be reached by May 1.

“We’re supposed to know in May at the Board of Control Meeting, but the decision might be made even sooner,” said Paul Stieber, The North Wind’s news editor.

Rebecca Stafford, a visiting scholar at Harvard, and David Powers, executive director of the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board, are the other two finalists.

“At ASU, the interviews will be done by the end of next week, so we hope to have a decision made shortly thereafter,” said Scott Lewis, executive assistant to the president at ASU.

“I believe the committee looked hard at 85 candidates, and they (the committee) felt Baker was highly qualified and could do the job as president,” Lewis said.

George Emert, executive vice president of Auburn University, Alabama, and John Mangieri, vice chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs at the University of New Orleans, are also in the race.

Baker was at the Board of Regents meeting in Springfield and unavailable for comment. However, Baker has said in the past that he has made no secret of his aspirations to be a university president someday.

In 1990, Baker was a finalist in the presidential search at Kent State University in Ohio.