Interim UH President David Lassner got his shot to convince Regents that he's the best man for the job during a forum at Leeward Community College.
It was essentially an hour and a half long interview, including questions from the audience such as "What does a University President do?"
Lassner opened with an interesting statement. He said his assignment was to explain why he wants to be UH President.
"I've actually never uttered those words" explained Lassner. "I've always seen career as a way to get more done and obviously moved up the ranks in my 36 years here."
He went on to say, "Honestly I can't imagine a better job in Hawaii then the one I left behind on August 31st. For a geek to be in charge of IT for the entire UH system, that's nirvana. I saw the job the President had and frankly, I wasn't really thinking that was what I wanted to do next."
So why did Lassner accept the nomination? In his words, "It is a hard job and I wasn't looking for it, but this is what it comes down for me. I truly believe we can be the best higher education institution in the entire country. I accepted the nomination not because I want to be President. I think it's a really important job and needs to be done for my home."
He covered specifics such as the need to improve procurement problems on costruction projects, the role of UH West Oahu and Community Colleges, and the potential to become the University of the Pacific.
A lighter moment came when Lassner was asked about mentors.
Lassner said, "Part of the art of learning is watching everyone around you about what works and what doesn't. I won't use a name, but I learned a lot from my worst boss ever by watching what that person was doing. I won't even use a gender. But I thought, boy, if I'm ever in a position like that, boy I'm never going to do that."
We tried to get initials, but he responded "no names" with a chuckle.
The light-hearted tone of Lassner's first forum was in marked contrast to the protests that his competition, former Army Lieutenant General Francis Wiercinski faced at UH Manoa on May 6th.
Both finalists will hold forums across the UH system throughout May. The Board of Regents will decide between the two candidates in June.