LAS VEGAS - The list of finalists for the post of chancellor of the University and Community College System of Nevada is down to three, including the current interim chancellor.
Regents pared the list from five to three following a final day of interviews on Saturday.
The finalists are interim Chancellor Jane Nichols; Robert Perry, chief executive of South Dakota's public higher education system; and Richard Rush, president of Minnesota State University, Mankato.
All said they were prepared for the challenges brought on by record enrollment growth in Nevada and all have extensive legislative lobbying work in their backgrounds.
Perry has experience that relates to the Nevada job of taking orders from the Board of Regents and making sure the policies and goals of the system are carried out by campus presidents. That has been his job for the past six years in South Dakota.
Rush's work on economic diversification - supporting and linking wireless communications projects in southern Minnesota and Finland - caught the attention of several regents and educators. He also helped to create California State University, San Marcos from the ground up, experience that could help the expanding Nevada system.
Nichols, who earned her doctorate in education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1986, has a working knowledge of Nevada politics and higher education. A vice chancellor for Nevada since 1997, she was the system's point person on efforts that convinced the 1999 Legislature to support the Millennium Scholarship program, which this year begins offering up to $10,000 in financial aid to Nevada high school graduates with at least a 3.0 grade point average.
The search for a new chancellor began with 44 candidates. That pool was whittled to six by Shirley Chater, a Washington, D.C.-based consultant whose firm is being paid $55,000 to manage the search.
One of the six withdrew before the final cut for a successor to Richard Jarvis, who quit the $200,000-a-year post last summer after losing support on the elected board.
The three finalists have been invited back to receptions scheduled for next week in Las Vegas and Reno.
On Sept. 1, the regents' search committee will recommend one of the finalists for an appointment. The 11-member Board of Regents is expected to make that appointment during its meetings in Las Vegas on Sept. 7 and 8.