The University of Kentucky presidential search committee Wednesday began winnowing a lengthy list of candidates to replace President Lee T. Todd Jr., who will retire in June.
Search consultant Jan Greenwood told committee members that, as of Tuesday night, more than 400 people had been consulted about the search, among them presidents, provosts and some deans.
There were 110 nominations for the job. Anyone may nominate a candidate.
In addition, an unknown number of people applied for the job.
Greenwood said the breakdown of candidates was 38 percent women and minorities, with the remainder being white men. Her consulting group has seen a perception that the UK president's job will not go to a woman or minority this time, Greenwood said, so she characterized the number of women and minorities expressing interest as satisfactory.
James Stuckert, chairman of the search committee, said Wednesday's meeting was "probably the most important session" for the committee and stressed to members the harsh consequences of discussing candidates outside the committee.
"This process absolutely, positively must remain confidential," Stuckert said.
He said that any "leakers" on the committee "will be sued. ... And the University of Kentucky will not pick up the expense."
The search committee is allowed to discuss individual personnel matters in private under an exemption in Kentucky's Open Meetings Law.
After the four-hour session, Stuckert said the committee did not eliminate anyone and was seeking additional information on some candidates. He would not elaborate, however, on the number of candidates with which the committee started — except to say in response to a reporter's question it was probably fewer than 200 — or how many would be interviewed or targeted for additional research.
He said some of the candidates might be in other high-profile candidate pools and drop out of the UK pool.
"I'm very pleased with the pool we have," Stuckert said. "I think our consultants have done an outstanding job so far."
The UK board hopes to consider finalists in April and extend an offer in May.