Group selected to look for NU’s next president

Nathalie Tadena

Members of the Board of Trustees will make up more than half of the 29-member search committee to select NU President Henry Bienen’s successor, the committee’s chairman announced Tuesday.

The committee will also include two students and six faculty members. Though several of the faculty members teach across disciplines, three of the six undergraduate schools – the Schools of Communication and Music and the Medill School of Journalism – will have no representatives.

Bienen, who has served as NU’s president since 1995, announced March 3 that he would step down Aug. 31, 2009.

Members of the search committee were nominated by various groups on campus, said Marilyn McCoy, vice president for administration and planning, who will staff the committee.

“We want to broadly canvass the Northwestern community for concepts of what we should be looking for as well as suggestions and nominations from members of the search committee,” she said.

But it will be difficult for one graduate student and one undergraduate student to gather a full range of student body opinions, said Jonathan Webber, Associated Student Government president.

Webber said the chairman of the Board of Trustees asked him to suggest students for the committee, but neither of his selections was chosen and the committee never followed up with him.

“I’m pretty disappointed there’s only one undergraduate student,” he said. “I would hope they’d do a better job taking student input into consideration for when the next president’s coming in.”

William Osborn, a member of the Board of Trustees and former CEO of an investment banking firm, will head the committee.

In a press release, Osborn said the committee received “many excellent nominations” for the final selections.

The search committee’s 17 trustees come mostly from the business world. A majority are, like Osborn, CEOs; a few are lawyers or philanthropists.

In addition to the student and faculty representatives, the committee includes two alumni and the chief operating officer of Feinberg School of Medicine as well as a university human resources consultant.

Weinberg sophomore Sharanya Jaidev, the only undergraduate student selected for the committee, said she could not disclose information about how she was selected.

“I am looking forward to being a part of the committee,” said Jaidev, a Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences and economics double major. “I am pretty excited to work with really important people.”

The committee has not met yet, but is currently in the process of selecting a date for its first meeting, McCoy said.

“We’re just beginning the search process now,” she said.

[email protected] Emily Glazer contributed to this report.