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HPU narrows president search

By Gene Park

LAST UPDATED: 1:56 a.m. HST, Nov 16, 2010

Hawaii Pacific University is nearing the end of its search for a new president.

The new president will take the helm of the downtown campus in July, after current President Chatt G. Wright retires. Wright is one of the longest-serving private university presidents in the United States, with 40 years of service to the school.

The three finalists are:

» Geoffrey Bannister, president of a capital investment firm and the former president of Schiller International University;

» Brian Levin-Stankevich, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; and

» Greg Weisenstein, president of West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

All three men will be arriving in Honolulu this and next week to meet with HPU faculty, staff, students and the board of trustees, said Rick Stepien, vice president of administration for the university.

"I would think by January an announcement would be made," Stepien said.

The school used California-based executive search firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates in its hunt.

From 1989 to 2000, Bannister was president of Butler University in Indiana. Before that, he was dean of arts and sciences at Boston University.

Bannister also was president of Cultural Experiences Abroad, a study abroad program, and founding president of the Forum on Education Abroad.

Levin-Stankevich has taught and held administrative positions at State University of New York, Florida Atlantic University in Florida and Eastern Washington University in Washington state.

Levin-Stankevich said in an e-mail to his Wisconsin faculty and staff that a mentor nominated him for the Hawaii position. He will visit Hawaii next week.

Weisenstein was provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Dakota.

Through his 35-year career in higher education, he has held dean positions at Montana State University and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and was an associate dean at Clemson University.

Wright retires June 30. He began his career at what was then known as Hawaii Pacific College in 1972 as the founding dean of the business college. The school had only 57 students. Now about 8,200 students are enrolled.

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