UH Regents Embark On Plans To Replace Greenwood

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents decided this morning to create a group that will be tasked specifically with identifying potential interim presidents for a temporary position starting Sept. 1, when current UH President M.R.C. Greenwood is formally stepping down.

Honolulu Regent John Holzman, who was last month selected to chair the board’s three-member presidential selection task group, emphasized that the university is in a time crunch to fill the position in the interim. Board members didn’t stipulate how long that interim president would be on the job, though they said they would try to find a permanent president as expeditiously as possible.

Board Chair Eric Martinson also assembled a seven-person search committee for the separate task of hiring the president. Members include Holzman, Jan Sullivan, Saedene Ota, Chuck Gee, Barry Mizuno, James Lee and student member Jeffrey Tangonan Acido. (Martinson and Coralie Matayoshi will serve as ex-officio members.)

Regents agreed that in the meantime, the acting president’s role would be to continue Greenwood’s work and respond to emergencies rather than redesign the presidency, which they said will happen once a permanent president is hired. 

“The first priority of any organization is just to do no harm,” Holzman said Thursday. “That means providing for a smooth, orderly transition as President Greenwood leaves on August 31st.”

“The task group’s assumption is that the work requirements of this person is to basically keep the wheels spinning,” he continued, noting that it would make sense to appoint someone who’s already within the UH system and is familiar with the current context. The group will work with board leadership to appoint the stand-in. 

Greenwood abruptly announced last month that she’s retiring after this summer, two years before her contract is set to expire. 

After deciding to create a group in charge of selecting interim candidates, board members delved into discussions over criteria for the next president and how that person would fit into the university’s goals. 

More on that to come…

— Alia Wong

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