Eastern Kentucky University names three finalists for president

lblackford@herald-leader.comMarch 18, 2013 

Eastern Kentucky University has chosen three finalists to replace President Doug Whitlock when he retires in July. They will make individual visits to the Richmond campus starting next week to meet with faculty, staff and students.

The finalists are:

■ Michael T. Benson, president of Southern Utah University in Cedar City. Benson will be on campus Sunday through March 26.

■ Gregg Lassen, vice president for finance and operations at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. Lassen will be at EKU from March 26 to 28.

■ Alan T. Shao, dean of the School of Business at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Shao will be on campus April 1 to 3.

"It is with great pride and excitement that we introduce the three finalists," said Craig Turner, chairman of the EKU Presidential Search and Screening Committee and the EKU Board of Regents. "We are confident that all three of these candidates have the ability to lead this institution."

Turner said each candidate differentiated himself with education, experience and achievements.

The announcement came the day before a specially called meeting of the Board of Regents, at which the board is scheduled to discuss and possibly act on recommended job reductions in the form of layoffs, buyouts and early retirements. Earlier this year, Whitlock announced that EKU would re allocate 10 percent, or about $23 million, of its budget to new priorities, including employee raises, program improvements and strategic initiatives.

Eastern has nearly 14,000 students and an annual budget of $330 million. Whitlock is Eastern's 11th president.

Linda Blackford: (859) 231-1359. Twitter: @lbblackford.

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