Today, February 16, the University of Montana Presidential Search Committee met for the first time. The committee has been tasked with picking a replacement for former President Royce Engstrom, who was asked to step down suddenly in December. UM Communications Director Paula Short describes the make-up of the search team.

"There are 21 members on it," said Short. "Representation includes representatives from Montana University system leadership, two regents as well as the commissioner who is serving as chair of the committee, members from the community, the governors office, the administration, students, faculty, staff and a variety of folks from across the campus."

The search is, in fact, nation-wide and outside help has been called in as well.

"We did hire the national search firm AGB Search," Short said. "They are also available on the campus to just talking a little bit broadly about the process they are going to be going through, the timeline, and answer how things are going to move from here. This is the first opportunity for all of the search committee members to get together and receive their charge which is to conduct a search for the next President."

When the announcement was first made that Engstrom would be leaving, Commissioner Clay Christian indicated that there were hopes the President’s role would be filled by July this year, however, he also indicated that those hopes may be overly optimistic.