Search Goes On For JHU President Former provost John Lombardi's decision to drop out of the running will slow, but not cripple, the search for a new president of the university, the chairman of the board of trustees said. Morris W. Offit said his 19-member search committee will now take a new look at the more than 300 prospective candidates on its list, and at additional names being suggested by faculty, staff and friends of the university. The committee will craft a new short list of candidates to bring to campus for interviews with trustees, administrators, faculty and students, he said. Lombardi is the only candidate so far to have undergone such a round of interviews. "We have a lot of names, and we're in the process now of looking at them," Offit said. "There are some very, very good people on that list." Days after Lombardi's announcement last week that he would withdraw from the Hopkins search and remain as president of the University of Florida, Offit was back on the road talking with contacts about potential Hopkins presidents. A search committee meeting is set for Dec. 11. All nominations are still welcome, and may be sent to Offit through the Board of Trustees Office, 240 Garland Hall, Homewood. Offit said it is now unlikely that the trustees will elect a new president by sometime in January, as he had hoped. "But we have in Dan Nathans an excellent interim president," Offit said. "There is no need to rush this. The idea is not to do it fast, but to do it right." Offit, who also led the search that brought William C. Richardson to Hopkins as president in 1990, said it is not at all unusual to come close to agreement with a candidate, only to have one side or the other back away for reasons that have nothing to do with the attractiveness of the job or the candidate. "That happens frequently," Offit said. "The only difference this time is the enormous publicity the story received, largely because the University of Florida is a state institution and Florida has such a broad open public records law." Lombardi's candidacy for the Hopkins post leaked out in Florida in the midst of a debate there with the Board of Regents over governance of the state university system. Gov. Lawton Chiles and other prominent Floridians, including the regents, campaigned to persuade Lombardi to remain. He announced Dec. 4 he had decided to stay in Gainesville and "complete what we all have begun together here." In the same written statement, he praised what he called Hopkins' "unique place in higher education and ... extraordinary quality. "The opportunities at Johns Hopkins and the generosity of my friends there made it almost impossible to resist," he said.
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