Hiring A President
by Bud Garrison
In the year following Roy Lieuallen’s promotion to chancellor we were searching for a new president for OCE. We had developed a fairly extensive list of candidates. Ellis Stebbins, acting president, asked M. “Chuck “Charles and me to visit the candidates in their own setting.
We agreed to record our impressions of each candidate immediately after we had interviewed them. This recording was then read to the remaining members of the committee.
One candidate invited to visit the campus was Leonard Rice. He had a low key and positive tour of our campus. His soft spoken mannerisms convinced some of the more predatory professors that he would be a soft touch, thereby gaining their support. My knowledge of his background convinced me otherwise but I said nothing about it. His later demonstration of integrity and commitment to process supported my perception of him.
The committee submitted only Leonard’s name to the board, in spite of objections from a few of us. He was subsequently hired as our next president.
I later learned that Leonard had read the comments that Chuck and I made after our visit. This became the basis for one of his favorite verbal pictures. It went as follows:
“When Chuck described his impressions of me [Rice speaking] he did so in glowing terms. He reported that I was highly intelligent, very socially aware and well qualified for the position of president. When I worked with the faculty he was completely disillusioned with my approach. In fact, he decided to leave the campus at the end of my first year.
“On the other hand, Bud saw me as able but needing much faculty support. He felt the faculty would compare me unfavorably to Roy Lieuallen. As a result of his expectations of me we became good friends and worked together for years. In fact OCE was recognized as having the outstanding elementary teacher education program in the nation. Clearly it is not wise to expect too much of others.”