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For week ended February 06, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

WSU Chooses LDS Church Member for President
Seattle WA Times 4Feb00 P2
By Eli Sanders: Seattle Times staff reporter

PULLMAN, WASHINGTON -- Washington State University has reportedly selected LDS Church member V. Lane Rawlins as its new president. Rawlins, who is currently president of the University of Memphis, The Board of Regents released their short-list of candidates for the position on February 3rd, and Rawlins was the only name on the list. Since he hasn't yet visited the campus, a formal offer hasn't yet been extended. But with Rawlins' long-time ties to the area, the board is hopeful they will convince him to come.

Rawlins was a respected and popular economics professor at WSU. He joined the faculty in economics in the late 1960s and quickly moved into administrative positions, serving as chair of the economics department for five years and then becoming vice provost in 1982. He left WSU in 1986 to become vice chancellor of academic affairs for the University of Alabama. He became president of the University of Memphis in 1991.

Rawlins is scheduled to visit the WSU campus early this week, and if he accepts the position, Rawlins could be hired by March 1st. He will replace Samuel Smith, who will retire July 1st.

Reaction on WSU's campus was generally positive, "How about that," exclaimed Duane Leigh, chairman of the WSU economics department. "I know him well, and I never thought we'd get him back. He fairly early on showed a talent for administration. He's so good with people."

On one occasion, Leigh, an old friend of Rawlins from their graduate student days, remembers Rawlins turning down a request he made. "He was willing to take the time to work through whatever it was," Leigh said. "It's very rare in my experience to have someone in a responsible administrative position who is so good with people."

WSU has a student and faculty population of almost 20,000 on campuses in Pullman, Vancouver, the Tri-Cities and Spokane. The new president will inherit a school that has grown substanially since 1985, but will also have to deal with low morale and high turnover among professors, strained race relations among students, and problems with alcohol abuse on campus.


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