By Megan Brewer — 

In the last of four presidential listening tours, trustees answered and listened to the smallest crowd of fewer than 20 people.

Former SGA president O.J. Oleka requested a summary of qualities people have asked for in a president. Trustees responded with a long list. They are looking for integrity, honesty, diversity-mindedness, inclusiveness, a dedication to research, transparency and the ability to move the university agenda forward.

Oleka said he wants a president with integrity, who is student-focused and an alumni.

Bill Funk of the search firm said trustees will spend a lot of time with candidates, not only in interviews but taking them to dinners.

“Before the search is complete they (the board) will have a pretty good feel for them,” Funk said.

“The best way to see how someone manages is to ask the people they manage,” student Alex Kearns said.

“When these candidates are one of say eight of the shortlists, we talk to them about making directed references and ask them to provide us with three people who know their work well, but who they have confidence in maintaining their confidentiality,” Funk said.

“When they’re a finalists, when you tell them they’re one of three or one of four finalists, there’s kind of an acceptance to the fact that we have to do non-directed referencing.”

Funk said they try to be as discrete and quick as possible.

Presidential search committee chair Bonita Black said the board is actively working with the search firm.

Funk estimated 15 of the applicants for president are viable candidates. He said issues at the university have “chilled the pool.”  He added they are not looking for a person who gets scared off but instead wants to turn the university around.

“I hope we have a tough decision,” trustee James Rogers said.

More information is available on the presidential search website.

Photo by Shelby Brown / The Louisville Cardinal