Saturday, January 20, 2001

GORE DESIRED AS U OF M PRESIDENT

GORE DESIRED AS U OF M PRESIDENT

Posted By on Sat, Jan 20, 2001 at 4:00 AM

There's a move on to entice outgoing Vice President Al Gore to consider taking over the reins of the University of Memphis - unclaimed since the resignation last year of former president V. Lane Rawlins to become president of Washington State University. That's the word from Cherrie Holden of Germantown, member of the State Board of Education from the 7th Congressional District, which includes substantial portions of Memphis and Shelby County.

Holden said several members of the university's faculty urged her to take up the matter with her fellow Board members when the state board meets in Nashville next with with the members of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The university's search for a successor to Rawlins has run into serious and prolonged controversy, with no consensus nominee in sight and several faculty members expressing public embitterment that interim U of M president Ralph Faudree and communications dean Richard Ranta were eliminated from consideration by the Board of Regents search committee. Gore was known to be interested in the open presidency of Harvard University but was among 450 nominees eliminated some weeks back by the Harvard Corporation search committee after Robert G. Stone Jr., a senior fellow of the corporation, publicly stated of Gore's semi-declared candidacy "He doesn't have the academic and intellectual standing." Attention is also being paid in political and media circles, off and on, to the prospect of a Gore candidacy in 2002 for the governorship of Tennessee. The Gore-for-Governor talk has been fueled by the encouragement longtime Gore ally Johnny Hayes has received by the vice president's allies to seek the Tennessee state Democratic chairmanship. Some have also speculated that Gore might be asked assume a ranking position at The Tennessean of Nashville, from which vantage point he could ultimately move up to an executive position in the Gannett organization or to the leadership of the chain's Freedom Forum. Others have suggested that Gore might find a bully pulpit with the First Amendment Center of Nashville, yet another Gannett-related institution.

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