Former University rector
appointed to governors panel
By Matt Kelly
Mark Warner, in an effort to remove politics from the college
board selection process, has named a seven-member panel to recommend
higher education appointments.
panel, which has a one-year term, will recommend candidates for
about 18 higher education boards across the state. Warner will
select his nominees from these recommendations.
governors have made appointments to college boards generally in
consultation with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. This is the
first time there has been a separate appointments panel.
P. Darden, who served as U.Va. rector from 1987 to 1990, was named
to the panel, along with Albemarle County resident James B. Murray,
former rector of the College of William & Mary.
Secretary of Education Peter Blake said that the commission would
look for candidates with the highest professionalism
to serve on governor-appointed college boards, including the Universitys
Board of Visitors.
terms of four U.Va. board members expired March 1. Dr. Charles
M. Caravati completed his second four-year term on the board and
must step down, while Timothy B. Robertson, Benjamin P.A. Warthen
and Joseph E. Wolfe are eligible for re-appointment.
U.Va. appointments would top Warners priority list, Blake
said, though he acknowledged the governor would also have to fill
several posts at other schools left vacant if the legislature
rejected appointments made by former Gov. Jim Gilmore. Blake predicted
Warner would have the Board
of Visitors appointments done by the end of March.
T. Casteen III welcomed Warners new approach to identifying
Board of Visitors candidates.
our boards will benefit by this panels work more
prospective members than a solely political process can bring
forward, more diverse backgrounds, more careful consideration
of various kinds of merit, he said. The results will
be good for the colleges and good for Virginia.
panel will look for candidates with experience on corporate and
professional boards, and who are familiar with the mission of
higher education, Blake said. Appointments can be tailored to
particular situations at the universities, he said, such as recommending
a candidate who understands medical issues.
also want people who will attend the meetings, Blake said,
noting that some boards not U.Va.s have had
to cancel meetings because they have not been able to raise a
is also concerned about filling the vacancies on time, according
Despite his goal, Blake said Warner admitted in announcing the
new approach that politics would not be removed from the process
education faces big challenges in our current budget climate and
transition to a knowledge-based economy, Warner said. We
need people of experience and skill, and we need people committed
to ensuring a system of quality higher education is available
to all Virginians. I have been concerned for a long time that
in some cases, we are not achieving this high standard.
Darden and Murray on the panel are Marshall Acuff, chair of the
board of directors of the Association of the Governing Boards
of Universities and Colleges; Paul Torgersen, former president
of Virginia Tech; Reginald Brown, former member of the Business
Advisory Board of George Mason University and a former member
of the Honors Board at James Madison University; Grace Harris,
former provost of Virginia Commonwealth University; and Lovey
Hammel, current chair of the George Mason University Foundation
said the committee would be empanelled for one year and would
then be eligible for reappointment. He said it may be used as
a model for panels to recommend members for appointment to other