1

UM narrows presidential search to four candidates

Main Hall of the University of Montana campus. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

The University of Montana’s search for its next president has been narrowed to four finalists and each are scheduled to visit campus later this month, the school said this week.

Clay Christian, the Montana commissioner of higher education, said students, UM employees and members of the public are invited to attend the forums set for each candidate.

“The search committee is excited to bring these finalists to campus,” said Christian. “We have a very talented group of distinguished professionals advancing to the next phase of the process.”

The Board of Regents and the commissioner of higher education will gauge the candidates interaction with the public as a key part of the recruitment process. The board is expected to make a final decision on the presidential selection later this fall.

Below are a brief summary of credentials for each of the four finalists. Complete biographies and resumes for each finalist can be viewed by following this link.

Mirta M. Martin serves as senior education adviser to former Mexican President Vicente Fox and is a Senior Fellow for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.  Previously, Martin served as president of Fort Hays State University in Kansas. She has over 30 years of experience in higher education, banking, advising and consulting.

Martin holds a baccalaureate in psychology and political science from Duke University, a master of business administration from the University of Richmond and a doctorate with an emphasis in strategic management and leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Martin will visit campus for interviews Sept. 18-19, with a public forum at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18, at in the University Center Theater, followed by a community reception at 5:15 p.m. in the UC Ballroom.

Andrew “Andy” Hale Feinstein is the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at San José State University, one of the largest public comprehensive universities in the western United States and the top supplier of graduates to Silicon Valley.

As SJSU’s chief academic officer, Feinstein oversees 154 degree programs and supports more than 35,000 students, 1,900 faculty and 550 staff members and administrators in seven academic colleges.

Previous to SJSU, Feinstein served as a professor, department chair, associate dean, dean and presidential adviser. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hotel administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and his Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University, where he studied man/environment relations and was an Academic Computing Fellow.

Feinstein will visit campus for interviews Sept. 20-21, with a public forum at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 20, in the UC Theater, followed by a community reception at 5:15 p.m. in the UC Ballroom.

Seth Bodnar is a senior executive at General Electric Co., where he is responsible for long-term strategy and business transformation at GE Transportation, a global company with over 10,000 employees and approximately $5 billion in revenue. He served as an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point, where he taught economics.

Prior to his time on faculty at West Point, Bodnar had a distinguished military career, serving in the 101st Airborne Division and the U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Group. A West Point graduate, Bodnar received both the Rhodes and Truman scholarships and earned two master’s degrees from the University of Oxford.

Bodnar will visit campus for interviews Sept. 21-22, with a public forum at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, in the UC Theater, followed by a community reception at 5:15 p.m. in the UC Ballroom.

Charles “Chuck” M. Ambrose has been president of the University of Central Missouri since 2010. A career educator, Ambrose also served 12 years as president of Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, N.C., where he was recruited at age 36, making him the youngest serving president of a college or university in North Carolina in 1998.

In addition to his presidencies at Pfeiffer and UCM, Ambrose served as vice president for advancement at Carson-Newman College, assistant to the chancellor for university advancement at Western Carolina University, and executive assistant to the president at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, D.C. He now serves as chairman of the Council on Public Higher Education in Missouri.

Ambrose will visit the campus for interviews Sept. 25-26, with a public forum at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25, in the UC Theater, followed by a community reception at 5:15 p.m. in UC Rooms 331/332/333.