The University of Montana Presidential Search Committee has narrowed the field of candidates for president to four individuals, who will all be making campus visits in the next few weeks.

(Photos of all the finalists can be seen on the YouTube video accompanying the story.)

The first is Mirta M. Martin, Ph.D. with over 30 years of experience in higher education, banking, advisory, and consulting. Dr. Martin's career involves work in both the public and private sectors as well as work with public-private partnerships. Most recently, Dr. Martin served as president of Fort Hays State University in Kansas.

Dr. Martin will be visiting the campus on September 18 and 19, with a public forum in the University Center Theater at 3:30 p.m.

The next finalist is Andrew (Andy) Hale Feinstein, Ph.D., he is the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at San José State University (SJSU), one of the largest public comprehensive universities in the western United States. As SJSU’s chief academic officer, Feinstein oversees 154 degree programs and supports more than 35,000 students, 1,900 faculty, and 550 staff and administrators in seven academic colleges.

He will visit the campus on September 20-21, with a public forum on September 20 at 3:30 p.m. in the University Center Theater.

Finalist number three is Seth Bodnar, an innovative and collaborative leader with a track record of success in building effective teams and helping people and organizations reach their full potential. Seth graduated first in his class from West Point, received both the Rhodes and Truman scholarships, and earned two masters degrees from the University of Oxford. Prior to his time on faculty at West Point, Seth had a distinguished military career, serving in the 101st Airborne Division and the US Army’s First Special Forces Group.  As a member of the Army’s elite Green Berets, he commanded a Special Forces detachment on multiple deployments around the world and later served as a special assistant to the Commanding General in Iraq.

He will be visiting campus on September 21 and 22 with a public forum on September 22 at 3:30 p.m. in the University Center Theater.

Finalist number four is Charles Ambrose, University of Central Missouri President.

A career educator, before joining UCM, Dr. Ambrose served for 12 years as president of Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, N.C., where he was recruited at age 36, making him the youngest serving president of a college or university in North Carolina. UCM achieved six consecutive record fall enrollments, 2011-2016, under Dr. Ambrose's leadership.

His campus visit will be September 25 and 26, with a public forum on September 25 at 3:30 p.m. in the University Theater.

Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian is enthusiastic about the four finalists.

“One of the things that we identified in the application for all of our candidates, was for a dynamic, energetic, visionary leader,” Christian said. “I think the committee was very aware of that and what they could bring to the table in terms of leadership. They all come at it from a little different background, but all have been engaged at very high levels of leadership and management, and we’re just very excited about the various perspectives that they bring, but they all seem to be highly energetic, visionary leaders, and those are the key characteristics the committee identified.”

The new president will replace Royce Engstrom, who was asked to step down in December 2016. Engstrom is now serving as a chemistry professor at UM.

(Portions of the above story were taken from a press release issued by University Relations.)

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