By: Rick Blangiardi
Maybe I am stating the obvious, but someone needs to say it, so I will.
The University of Hawaii is in shambles and needs a major infusion of leadership.
Buildings are crumbling. Sports facilities are grossly inadequate. The last two presidents faced serious obstacles, despite proclamations that it can be a world-class institution.
The University of Hawaii has many excellent academic programs, but is lacking overall in too many areas.
What it lacks the most is a visionary.
That's why the selection of the next president is crucial and the choices couldn't be more different.
Regent chairman John Holzman, who will have a very large say in the decision, calls interim president David Lassner (quote) collaborative and open, loves Hawaii, has been here a long time and knows our state. (unquote). He said Lassner has had a very, very successful career at UH.
The other candidate, retired Lt. Gen. Frank Wiercinski, Holzman said, (quote) "has been a highly successful leader of one of the largest and most complex organizations in our country. He has enormous capacities as a leader, manager and communicator."
J.N. Musto, the executive director of the university of hawaii professional assembly, said it more succinctly. Lassner would be a (quote) stabilizing force for uh (unquote) while Wiercinski would be potentially (quote) high risk, high reward. (quote).
We don't need someone to maintain the status quo. We need someone to shake up the malaise at uh and get the most potential out of the fine professors, researchers and students who deserve better than what they've been getting.
Whether that person is Lassner or Wiercinski remains to be seen. Let's hope the regents have the integrity and courage to make the right choice.