Southern Miss presidential hopefuls interviewed

Published 6:39 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Candidates for the presidency of the University of Southern Mississippi went through the first round of interviews this weekend.

State Higher Education Commissioner Tom Meredith, search consultant Jan Greenwood, a committee of five state College Board members and seven Southern Miss constituents conducted interviews with candidates in Jackson for eight hours Friday and for six hours Saturday.

“The interviews went very well,” said Peter Fos, dean of Southern Miss’ College of Health, a panel member. “The candidate pool is of very, very high quality.”

Fos said he and fellow university representatives were allowed to ask candidates questions and share their impressions with the board.

Search participants have refused to divulge the candidates’ identities or qualifications, nor will they reveal the size of the pool. Still, all have affirmed that the process is proceeding smoothly and on schedule.

Twenty-five Southern Miss constituents vetted a stack of resumes before recommending individuals to the board committee for interviews. Board Search Committee Chair Robin Robinson said recently she expected an “outstanding” group.

Fos speculated final interviews will be held within a couple of weeks, following reference checks on candidates.

The university’s new president is expected to be announced in early April. Current president Shelby Thames’ contract expires in May.