The Texas A&M System Board of Regents met Wednesday via telephone. The topic: finding a permanent president of Texas A&M.
"The Board of Regents has the absolute best interest of the university at heart," Chancellor Michael McKinney said. "Absolutely, unequivocally, to a person. They'll choose somebody who will make an excellent president."
The discussion Wednesday, McKinney says, was more procedural than anything, as the regents discussed how they will move forward in the search, and made sure all appropriate names have been tossed in the hat.
When it comes to candidates, McKinney says a top four or five have been identified. "Some," he says, were among the three candidates recommended by the A&M search advisory committee that McKinney assembled earlier this year.
The chancellor also adds that those four or five under heavy consideration right now were among the 143 people discussed by that advisory committee.
McKinney says there is no official timetable to choose the next president. Interim A&M President Eddie Davis is still being considered, he says, and no deadline has been set for him to give up that interim title. Davis took a leave from the A&M Foundation, which he heads up.
Who can you count out when it comes to the search for the new leader of A&M? McKinney said rumors that Texas Governor Rick Perry is looking for the job (or even influencing regents in their search) are completely unfounded.
Also, don't look for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to be returning as president. McKinney said that rampant rumor doesn't have any credence.
"People have rumors everyday, not about the president here, but the presidents at the other three universities we're having to select," McKinney said. "We just can't respond to rumors. You can't deal with that. You'll never get anything done."
The board is also in the midst of searches for presidents at A&M-Commerce, A&M Texarkana and Tarleton State Universities.
Another group discussion on the topic of A&M-College Station's vacant presidency will come around the time of their next scheduled board meeting, which is December 6 and 7, that also according to McKinney.