Field open for Keohane successor

Get your engines ready.

President Nan Keohane will not step down for 13 more months and the presidential search committee has not yet been named, but committee chair and Board of Trustees vice chair Robert Steel, Trinity '73, is rapidly assembling the group and has already begun soliciting community members for advice on who the ninth president of the University should be and what qualities the next president should have.

24 names to watch in the presidential search

Nevertheless, statements by faculty and administrators inside and outside the University, as well as the results of other recent presidential searches, offer strong suggestions about the criteria the search committee will be using. Keohane's successor will likely - although not necessarily - have top academic qualifications and strong management experience, as well as the ability to fundraise and relate to the University's various constituencies.

The pool of applicants who might fit those characteristics is relatively small, and possible candidates are already emerging.

The insiders

Duke has had a history of hiring its presidents from within its own walls. Keohane's predecessor, Keith Brodie, served as provost and chancellor of the University and was a James B. Duke professor of psychiatry. Stanford University chose its own provost, John Hennessey, in 2000, to become president.

  • Peter Lange, provost. Judged by many faculty to be the strongest internal candidate, Lange has served as provost since 1999. He has also chaired the political science department and served as Duke's first vice provost for international affairs position. Lange also spearheaded the committee that developed Curriculum 2000. As provost, he authored the current strategic plan, Building on Excellence, and has presided over its implementation with praise from the faculty. Lange has said publicly he is currently very happy with his role as provost.

  • William Chafe, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences. Chafe was a finalist for the Williams College presidency before withdrawing in 2000 and also a finalist for the Brown University presidency. After nine years as a dean, the 61-year-old Chafe has said he will likely go back to teaching and research when he steps down in June 2004.

  • Others to watch: Kristina Johnson, dean of the Pratt School of Engineering since 1999.

The alumni

Many veterans of Duke administrations, as well as key alumni in top positions in academia, could have a leg up for the position. As the youngest university among top-10 schools, showcasing an alum could boost Duke's staying power. Former administrators who have gone to other jobs might also have the institutional knowledge other candidates lack.

  • Pamela Gann, Law '73 and president of Claremont McKenna College. Gann was hired in 1999, after serving 11 years as the dean of Duke's School of Law. Wife of top First Amendment scholar and Duke law professor William Van Alstyne, Gann served on the law faculty at Duke from 1975 until 1988, when she was appointed dean. She left for Claremont McKenna after considering the provost post in 1999.

  • Malcolm Gillis, president of Rice University. Gillis was serving as Duke's dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences when he left for Rice in 1993. Gillis began his career at Duke, went to Harvard University for 15 years, and returned in 1984 to Duke as a full professor of economics and public policy. If the committee looks for someone in their late 40s or early 50s, however, Gillis, at 63, may be a little too old for the position.

  • Others to watch: Stanley Fish, of Duke English-fame, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Lewis "Rusty" Williams, Ph.D. '75, Medicine '88, CEO, Duke trustee and president and chair of Five Prime, Inc.

The liberal arts college presidents

Brown University chose this route in 2001 when it selected Smith College President Ruth Simmons as president. Duke also gave another small liberal arts college president a shot in 1993 - Nan Keohane, who was at the time president of Wellesley College.

  • Tom Gerety, president of Amherst College. Gerety will step down this June as president of Amherst, the top-ranked liberal arts college by U.S. News and World Report. In his nine-year tenure, Gerety, a professor of philosophy, raised $270 million in a capital campaign, tripled the school's endowment and devoted time to residential life, strengthening athletics standards and enhancing diversity. With four Yale degrees and a stint as the dean of the University of Cincinnati's law school, Gerety has a background with research universities as well.

  • Others to watch: Diana Chapman Walsh, president of Wellesley College and former faculty member at Harvard's School of Public Health.

Administrative all-stars

In a world where administration is increasingly more removed from daily academic life and more concerned with fundraising, budgets and lobbying for grant money, tried-and-tested administrative leadership is something top universities are also turning to. Columbia picked off Michigan president - and Harvard presidency finalist - Lee Bollinger in 2001.

  • Dr. Robert Barchi, University of Pennsylvania provost since 1999. Barchi earned both his doctorate and medical degree from Penn, and has worked there ever since. Chair of neuroscience from 1992 to 1995 and chair of neurobiology from 1995 to 1999, Barchi would come to Duke as an expert in one of the University's hottest arenas, and has a mix of university administrative experience and medical expertise that makes him a very strong candidate - especially if the University looks for a president who can hit the ground running in the leadership of Medical Center affairs.

*Mark Wrighton, chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis since 1995. A whiz who earned his doctorate in chemistry at age 22 from the California Institute of Technology, he held a named professorship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by age 32. Wrighton served as MIT's provost in the early 1990s. In St. Louis, he has worked to increase undergraduate applications, and he launched a $1.3 billion capital campaign that has already met its goal.

  • Phillip Clay, chancellor of MIT and a professor of city planning. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an African-American, Clay has been an MIT faculty member for almost 30 years, and he served as an associate provost from 1994 to 2001.

  • Harvey Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine within the National Institutes of Health since July 2002, Harvard provost from 1997 to 2001 and dean of Harvard's School of Public Health for 13 years prior to that. The 58-year-old Fineberg was the insider among the three finalists for the Harvard presidency in 2000.

  • Richard Brodhead, dean of Yale College since 1982. A 19th-century literature scholar, Brodhead could be a heavily-undergraduate focused president. As dean, he has overseen enhancements to Yale's undergraduate financial aid policy, created Yale's version of a student village and oversaw the creation of performance space.

  • Others to watch: Robert Dyers, physicist and chancellor of the University of California at San Diego since 1996. John Etchemendy, Stanford University provost since 2000. Amy Gutmann, Princeton University provost since 2000 and dean of the faculty from 1995-97. Daniel Linzer, Northwestern University's dean of the College of Arts and Sciences since just 2002. Sharon Long, Stanford's dean of the faculty since 2001 and professor of biological sciences and biochemistry. Steven Knapp, provost of the Johns Hopkins University since 1996. Joseph Taylor, Princeton's dean of the faculty from 1997 until 2003, and winner of the Nobel prize in physics.

Big name appeal

If Duke wants to enhance its global reputation, it could go for an international intellectual figure or a big name from the policy or political world. Terry Sanford, Duke president from 1969 to 1985, had served as North Carolina governor and ran two presidential campaigns from the Allen Building. More recently, Harvard chose this route in selecting former Clinton Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers in 2000.

  • Bill Clinton, former United States president. A former Rhodes scholar and Yale law graduate, he has more than enough options for the coming years.

  • Others to watch: David Price, Democratic congressman from North Carolina's Fourth District and Duke professor of political science on leave. Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser and former Stanford provost.


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