A Message from Presidential Search Committee Chair

Richard D. Fain provides an update on the status of the search for a new president.


CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 30, 2015) — Presidential Search Committee Chair Richard D. Fain's full statement is copied below.

March 30, 2015

Dear University of Miami Family and Friends:

Last fall the Presidential Search Committee was charged with finding the successor to President Shalala. This is a tall order, but we’re confident we are on the right track and would like to take this opportunity to give a short update.

We reached out to the community to hear the views and suggestions. We are pleased to report that we have hosted more than 50 separate outreach meetings. It has been invigorating and heartening to witness the interest of so many and rewarding to experience everyone’s willingness to assist in the process. Not surprisingly, different groups have their own distinctive areas of focus, and we learned much about the enormous complexity of our institution. While such individual concerns and desires were helpful to understand, a few overriding and recurrent themes prevailed throughout this process:

  • the very tangible pride and commitment that so many have in the U was remarkable . . . and heartwarming;
  • the uniqueness of our university, our location, and our community was an asset people consistently felt we need to leverage;
  • UM is atypical in our boldness, in our willingness to take risks for the greater good of the university, as a 21st-century global university. We are not your “usual” university, and our next president shouldn’t be “usual.”
  • Personal relationships matter. The interpersonal skills of our next president should be an important component of our consideration set. Our goal has been to identify and to recruit a leader not only capable of building on the university’s proud legacy, but also someone who is ready to roll up his or her sleeves and jump in with new ideas and a distinct and energetic vision. 

As anticipated, our search received an enthusiastic response from a very distinguished and diverse pool of candidates. After very careful deliberation, we have narrowed that pool to four finalists. We met with these four for multiple and varied interviews; we not only met with them in formal settings in Miami, we also visited them on their home turf, even dining in their homes. We feel good about the process and are on track now to finalize a choice over the next few weeks. We are confident that our next president will not be comfortable resting on our laurels; he or she will be a change agent, dedicated to increasing our university’s stature and reputation for excellence.

One final theme emerged from our various outreach meetings, which was the recognition that the new president cannot accomplish this ambitious agenda for change alone. Our next president’s success – and therefore UM’s success – is absolutely dependent on our ability as a community to come together—to inform, support, and work as a team. Managing the transition will be just as important to our success as making the right choice for president.

We thank you for the wisdom you shared and for your invaluable contributions to our process. We look to you now to be equally generous and wise as we move into this next stage of transition.

On behalf of the entire Presidential Search Committee, we thank you for your support, for your insights, and for your encouragement. We are tremendously proud to have been asked to serve in this capacity and honored by your entrusting us with this important task.

Sincerely,

Richard D. Fain
Chair, Presidential Search Committee
Vice Chair, Board of Trustees