The University of Hawaii Board of Regents by a vote of 11 to 2 with 2 abstentions appointed David Lassner as the next President of the University of Hawaii System at a special board meeting today. The board discussed extensively its thoughts on the 11-month search process for the next president, which involved extensive community outreach and feedback from the public on what it wants to see in the next university leader.
Board Chair John Holzman said, “We had two extremely competent and qualified finalists and given another time and set of circumstances, Frank Wiercinski might indeed have been the overwhelming choice. But for where the university is now, and the road we have ahead to rebuild public trust, accountability and transparency, David Lassner is the leader we need.” Joining Holzman in the vote for Lassner were Vice Chairs James Lee and Saedene Ota, Regents’ Committee on Presidential Selection Chair Carl Carlson, and Regents Chuck Gee, Jan Sullivan, Eugene Bal, Jeffrey Acido, John Dean, Randy Moore, and Barry Mizuno who participated via live Polycom link from a conference room at New York University, where he was on a planned trip.
Regents Tom Shigemoto and Coralie Matayoshi voted for Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski and Regents Ben Kudo and Jeffrey Portnoy abstained from voting for either candidate, citing concerns with the selection process itself.
Lassner said, “I give my best regards and utmost respect to Frank Wiercinski for participating in this open process and for his willingness to serve. I am humbled and honored by the trust being placed in me by the Board of Regents. I pledge to listen, learn and collaborate to achieve excellence at UH as we execute on our shared vision to serve all the people of Hawaii in a manner that exemplifies superb stewardship of public resources.”
Regents worked out the following terms of appointment in Executive Session after the public discussion and vote. They include:
$375,000 annual salary
Term: continuous with annual review
Sub-Committee of the Board to negotiate terms of the appointment
Delegation to Chair of Board to execute agreed upon terms
The appointment is effective July 1, 2014.
Wiercinski thanked the Board of Regents for the honor and privilege of being a finalist for the critical position of University of Hawaii President and also thanked the Chancellors and their teams, Vice Presidents, Faculty Senate Chairs, Student Caucus leadership, UHPA and HGEA leadership, UH Foundation, Alumni Association, and the BOR’s staff.
“I will always recall their passion and dedication, and their dignity and respect during our conversations,” he said. “I would like to particularly thank those who nominated me for this position, asked me to serve, and further acknowledge their support and confidence in my leadership abilities. I am in awe of their courage and efforts to move the University forward, and so very grateful for their unyielding support.”
“Jeannine and I wish to congratulate David Lassner as he assumes the permanent President’s position. We wish him and the University of Hawaii great success and Aloha.”