The University System of Maryland announced yesterday the committee that will search for a new chancellor amid continuing speculation that Gov. Parris L. Glendening is interested in the job.
"I will not speculate on any candidate," said Nathan A. Chapman Jr., chairman of the system's Board of Regents, who also will lead the 17-person search committee.
"I will say that we are going to have one of the most thorough and open national searches happening anywhere in the country or in the history of the state," Chapman said.
Through his spokesmen, Glendening has refused to rule out interest in the job but says he has no intention of leaving office early.
In an agreement worked out with the board last year, Donald N. Langenberg will retire as chancellor in April, nine months before the end of Glendening's term. Glendening had opposed that, hoping Langenberg would stay until the end of next year.
"This sounds to me like a nonbiased, independent group that will make the best decision for the university system as a whole," Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said of the committee.
"If in fact the governor does put his name in, he would be an extremely viable candidate based on his experience as a tenured professor at College Park and having overseen the entire university system as governor for the past seven years," Miller said.
Charles R. Larson, the retired admiral who once headed the Naval Academy, will be vice chairman of the committee, the same post he has on the regents.
Others on the committee include: regents Nina Rodale Houghton and Thomas B. Finan Jr.; David J. Ramsey, University of Maryland, Baltimore president; John M. Brophy, president of Lockheed Martin; Baltimore lawyer Benjamin R. Civiletti; and Eleanor Merrill, associate publisher of the Capital Gazette Newspapers.
"Nobody tells Admiral Larson what to do ... nobody tells John Brophy what to do," Miller said. "These are very important people in their own right. I am confident that if there's any hint that a wrong decision is being made, there will be a strong dissent voiced vociferously."
Chapman said the committee is trying to hire a headhunter firm and getting a staff member from the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.
"We are going to be working through the logistics with our search consultants," said Chapman, who added that the committee hopes to forward a short list of three to five candidates to the Board of Regents by the end of the year. The regents will make the final choice.
Chapman said the committee would be able to evaluate the candidates objectively if Glendening shows interest in the post, which comes with a salary of more than $300,000 and a mansion in Baltimore County.
"We have dealt with internal candidates before, people who are part of the system's institutions who might qualify for a position," he said.
He also did not expect that the possibility of Glendening being a candidate -- before a Board of Regents that he appointed -- would discourage others from applying.
"This is one of the top jobs in the state," Chapman said. "We expect a lot of interest."