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April 13, 1995

Nordenberg, Provost Maher deny interim

Provost James Maher and law professor Mark Nordenberg this week denied that they are candidates to serve as interim chancellor between the time J. Dennis O'Connor leaves office and whenever the University hires a permanent successor.

Both men said that to their knowledge, the Board of Trustees doesn't plan to appoint an interim chancellor.

O'Connor, in his April 10 resignation letter to board chairperson Farrell Rubenstein, said he plans to resign at the end of the 1995-96 academic year or when his successor is named, whichever comes first. In a written statement, Rubenstein said, "I am pleased that Chancellor O'Connor will remain in his post until his successor is located." Board chairperson-designate J.W. Connolly stated that a search committee for O'Connor's successor will be named "in the near future." O'Connor, Rubenstein and Connolly were unavailable for interviews this week.

Despite official indications that the trustees don't plan to appoint an interim chancellor, rumors continue to circulate — as they have since last fall — that some past or present Pitt administrator will be named to that job.

According to the rumors, the two leading candidates have been Maher, who became Pitt provost on July 1, and Nordenberg, a Distinguished Service Professor of Law and former law dean who was acting provost from fall 1993 until Maher's appointment.

But Nordenberg said that neither Pitt's trustees nor anyone else has approached him about becoming interim chancellor, nor has he expressed interest in such a job — although he said he has been hearing the rumors for months. "There is no basis for believing there is any substance to those rumors," said Nordenberg.

Maher likewise said that he has not sought, nor been approached about, an interim chancellor appointment.

A number of faculty and staff members interviewed by the University Times voiced dismay at the thought of O'Connor serving as a lame duck chancellor for another year or more, and said an interim chancellor might ease the transition to a new permanent leader without rushing the search.

There are recent precedents for the naming of an interim senior administrator. O'Connor named Nordenberg interim provost following Donald Hen-derson's resignation in summer 1993. And Henderson himself acted as chancellor during the final months of Wesley Posvar's administration.

— Bruce Steele

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