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First impressions: comments from the presidential search committee

by Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu - August 27, 2007

Members of the search committee who were present when President Hogan’s appointment was formalized said they were delighted at the outcome of the process, attesting to his scholarly and administrative credentials and personal attributes.

John DeWolf, professor of civil and environmental engineering and chair of the Senate Executive Committee, described Hogan as “first and foremost a scholar and teacher, who has risen through the ranks.”

DeWolf said Hogan “understands bringing together people from different areas.”

Gary English, professor of dramatic arts and one of three faculty members on the search committee, said, “it is wonderfully rewarding to have found someone to lead the University who has real experience and background at a high level of academic excellence.”

English noted that during discussions with members of the Senate, Hogan expressed a strong commitment to academic culture and shared governance.

Dr. Peter Albertsen, a professor of surgery at the Health Center said, “President Hogan came across as very experienced, very talented. We are confident he can lead the University of Connecticut.

“His familiarity with health care will be of tremendous help to us,” Albertsen added.

“Although the two health care systems are dramatically different [the University of Iowa is a tertiary care center for the entire state of Iowa], his experience in health care will help us craft solutions to some of the issues facing the Health Center.”

Jeff Hathaway, director of athletics, expressed confidence in the committee’s choice. “We were looking for the best candidate across a range of activities and experiences. Michael Hogan has the knowledge to be successful in every aspect of being president.”

He added that the new president’s background as a faculty member is key: “He has tremendous respect for faculty, which will help with the operation of the University.”

Andrea Dennis-LaVigne, alumni member of the Board of Trustees, said “Dr. Hogan has the credentials and ability to lead our branch campuses, the law school, and the Health Center, along with the Storrs campus.”

She also noted that he has a commitment to decreasing the student-faculty ratio.

Joe Comprone, associate vice provost for the Avery Point Campus, said he felt the new president already has a good grasp of the University, of what has been accomplished so far, and where it is striving to be.

Said Lee Melvin, director of admissions and a member of the steering committee, “Michael Hogan has an enormous amount of knowledge regarding how large public institutions work, and how to enhance their responsibilities to the communities they serve.”

Melvin said Hogan spoke with the search committee about leading the University “to the next level,” including positioning UConn for membership in the AAU. (The Association of American Universities is an elite group of universities distinguished by the breadth and quality of their research and graduate programs. Membership is by invitation.)

He said he anticipates the new president will “set the bar high, and hold people accountable.” At the same time, he said, he has a way of putting people at ease: “I think we’ll enjoy working with him.”

“Michael Hogan brings Midwestern charm,” said Fran Archambault, emeritus professor and president of the Alumni Association.

“I’m told that President Hogan, like President Austin, has respect for and understanding of what the Alumni Association can mean to a university. I’m looking for the Alumni Association to play an even bigger role in the life of the University.”

Kala Kachmar also contributed to this article.

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