There appear to be three front-runners in the Columbus State University presidential search.
Charles F. Harrington, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke; Timothy S. Mescon, dean of the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University; Jane T. Upshaw, chancellor of the University of South Carolina Beaufort; and Patrick Schloss, president of Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D. were submitted to the Board of Regents by the local search committee, according numerous sources.
Schloss has since withdrawn his name from consideration.
The CSU presidential search and advisory committee, which has been working since late last year, submitted the names to the University System of Georgia chancellor's office Friday. The Board of Regents, which governs the state's 35 public colleges and universities, will make the final decision, likely by the end of the month.
John Millsaps, associate vice chancellor for media & publications for the Board of Regents, said Monday his office was not prepared to release a list of finalists.
"Because a campus committee submits a list does not mean they are finalists," Millsaps said. "The regents committee determines the finalists." Under Georgia law, the regents are required to submit a list of finalists 14 days before any board action, Millsaps said. The next Board of Regents meeting is scheduled for June 10 and 11 in Atlanta.
Millsaps would not confirm the list has been received from the CSU committee. The CSU public relations office, which has handled all media releases on the search to this point, referred questions to Millsaps.
The new president will replace Frank Brown, who is retiring next month after two decades in the job.
The candidates submitted by the CSU committee were scheduled for interviews in Atlanta this week with Vice Chancellor Susan Herbst and representatives from the regents CSU search committee, which is chaired by Columbus native Donald M. Leebern Jr. and includes Kenneth R. Bernard Jr., of Douglasville, Felton Jenkins of Madison and Richard L. Tucker of Lawrenceville.
Harrington interviewed with the Board of Regents search committee Monday in downtown Atlanta.
"I am extremely interested in Columbus," Harrington said from Pembroke Tuesday morning. "I thought the regents did a very thorough job and asked some appropriate and challenging questions."
Mescon and Upshaw could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning, both are out of their offices for the remainder of the week.
Schloss said he took his name out of consideration late Friday after he interviewed on campus Wednesday and Thursday of last week.
"I loved the community and campus," he said. "Every person I met was friendly and optimistic of the future. It was a wonderful, wonderful visit."
The 54-year-old administrator said something just didn't feel right.
"The decision on my side is really complex," he said. "It's not one thing. It relates to the goodness of the match up. I got a good sense of the university's aspirations. I have a good sense of myself and what I am good at. On balance to me, it didn't look like I would be a good match."
Schloss, who is among the final seven candidates for the president's job at Valdosta State University, said he could not be specific about why he would not be a good fit for CSU, but he feels certain the university will hire a quality president.
"It's a real strong pool," he said. "My guess is someone in that pool will be far better than me."
The finalists were among seven candidates on the CSU campus for two-day interviews last month. Tim Hynes, vice president for academic affairs at the University of West Georgia; Kaylene A. Gebert, executive vice president and provost of Middle Tennessee State University; and Katherine S. Conway-Turner, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York at Geneseo, also interviewed on campus.
The CSU committee was chaired by George Stanton, vice president for academic affairs. Other members of the search committee include: Floyd Jackson, associate professor and chair of chemistry and geology; Barbara Hunt, professor and chair of English; Tom Loughman, professor of marketing & management; Beverly Davis, dean of University College; Alex Acton, president of the Student Government Association; Ray Lakes, executive director of the Columbus State University Alumni Association; Pam Siddall, alumna and publisher of the Wichita Eagle; and James Yancey, retired chairman of the board of Synovus, Columbus State Foundation.