WSU Regents to Begin Search for Successor to President Samuel Smith

PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University Board of Regents announced today
that it is starting its search for President Samuel Smith’s successor, a process that officials
anticipate will take six to eight months and involve the entire university community.
Ford Webb Associates, a nationally recognized executive search firm, has been retained to
assist in the selection process. The firm is conducting interviews this week with various
segments of the university community, including President Smith, to gain a better understanding
of the type of candidate who would be most successful as WSU’s president.
“Perhaps the most important success realized by President Smith during his 14 years at
Washington State University was to expand WSU from a single rural campus to a statewide
multi-campus institution,” said Peter Goldmark, president of the university’s Board of Regents.
“Our board believes the process to find Sam’s successor must remain true to that broad vision: It
must be open; reflect the diversity of our state; and seek the active involvement of our students,
faculty, alumni and all who care about WSU and higher education. We believe such a process
will be the best way to attract the candidate who can build on President Smith’s legacy.”
The regents will appoint a presidential search committee with a statewide base and broad
representation from the university community. Goldmark will chair the 14-member committee,
which will include three regents; representatives of the university’s faculty, staff, administration,
graduate and undergraduate students; alumni; and the WSU Foundation.
Working with Ford Webb Associates, the search committee will develop a set of candidate
requirements by studying WSU’s institutional culture and examining its leadership needs.
The university will formally advertise for the presidency in mid-September when it publishes a
list of candidate qualifications.
“The search committee will be expected to reach out to the entire university community and
help ensure that everyone has an opportunity to be heard about the type of person WSU needs
to lead it into the next millennium,” Goldmark said. “I can’t emphasize enough that we will be
engaging people from across the state and from within WSU’s academic community to assist us
with our presidential search. WSU has four campuses, eight learning centers and a distance
education program that serves students in all of Washington’s 39 counties.
“The regents believe that including the entire spectrum of the university community in our
search will ensure that we develop the proper set of qualifications for WSU’s next president.”
Smith will officially leave WSU’s presidency on July 1, 2000. He is currently chair-elect of the
National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, is a member of the Kellogg
Commission on the Future of the State and Land-Grant Universities, and is on the Board of
Trustees of the Western Governors University.
“I think Washington State University is going to attract a tremendous number of qualified
candidates for the presidency,” Smith said. “We have just finished a very successful Legislative
session. We received critically needed dollars for faculty salaries and for construction funding
for major facilities, both on the Pullman campus and on the branch campuses in Spokane,
Vancouver and the Tri-Cities.”
Smith noted that the university’s recent 10-year accreditation report includes a number of
commendations. “Whoever is selected to preside over this institution will find it poised to fulfill
an even greater role in this state — academically and in meeting the needs of all citizens –in the
next decade.”
Washington State University was founded in 1890 as the state’s land-grant university. The
main campus in Pullman, located in southeast Washington, attracts an ethnically and culturally
diverse student body from around the state, the nation and the world.
The university was recently recognized as the nation’s No. 1 public university for student
access and educational use of the Internet, according to a leading Internet magazine; and is a top
educational value, according a new national survey of high school guidance counselors.
WSU’s branch campuses were established in 1989 to increase access to upper division and
graduate education for place-bound and job-bound students in major urban areas. Access was
further increased in 1992 with the creation of the Extended Degree Programs, offering distance