Who will replace UH's Greenwood?

Kenneth Mortimer
Kenneth Mortimer
Kitty Lagareta
Kitty Lagareta
Richard Mizusawa
Richard Mizusawa

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The day after MRC Greenwood's surprise announcement that she is stepping down as University of Hawaii's president, the succession buzz is focusing on a number of key UH executives.

The names most commonly mentioned as interim replacements by current and former UH regents and executives include:

-- UH Provost Linda Johnsrud, who is the next highest ranking executive behind Greenwood;

-- Rockne Freitas, who recently was named chancellor of the UH West Oahu campus;

-- Sylvia Yuen, special assistant to the UH president, and;

-- Former UH President David McClain, who also served as interim president when former President Evan Dobelle was ousted from his post.

"I would think they would be seriously asking whether David McClain were available to do an interim," said former UH President Kenneth Mortimer.

"When boards consider these matters, they consider inside people and then they ask the question who outside might be available for an interim appointment."

One UH Manoa faculty leader said she supports that approach.

"I don't think we need expensive search firms," said Bonnyjean Manini, UH Manoa Senate Faculty chair. "I don't think we need to be doing other searches. I think we need to look within to find a leader.

A former chair of the UH Board of Regents said she hopes Greenwood's successor will continue to defend UH's academic independence.

"I think the person is going to have to have the courage to stand up for what they believe is best for the university and what they believe is in accordance with running an academic institution," said Kitty Lagareta, former chair of the UH Board of Regents.

Greenwood announced Monday she stepping down as president, citing health and personal reasons.

The move comes months after a failed Stevie Wonder concert resulted in the UH losing $200,000 while spending hundreds of thousands more on consultants, investigations and public relations advisors.

Lawmakers and student leaders say they hope Greenwood's successor will be more in touch with the local community.

"We want someone who will be accountable and someone who's going to be transparent and going to be engaging the public as well as the media and everyone else in the best interest of the university," said state Senate President Donna Kim.

Added Richard Mizusawa, president of the 11,000-member Association of Students of the University of Hawaii: "Maybe it's time for the next president to help address these key issues that are being faced, such as accountability, transparency," he said.

UH Regents Tuesday declined comment on how they plan to go about selecting Greenwood's successor. That discussion will be taken up when the board meets next week.

"We've had a rough year," said UH Manoa Chancellor Tom Apple, who added that the UH needs "a good leader who can move the university in concert with the community."

"We'll always have critics but I think that being more transparent and having more conversations is the way to get better."

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