State Board could name interim Boise State president Friday

The State Board of Education could name an interim Boise State University president as soon as Friday.

On Tuesday afternoon, the State Board announced it will meet at 11 a.m. Friday to “consider appointing an interim president of Boise State University.”

The State Board will meet first in a closed-door executive session, then come into open session Friday morning, at which point members are expected to vote on the appointment, according to a State Board news release.

Longtime Boise State President Bob Kustra is set to retire June 30. Questions about Boise State’s leadership moving forward have been swirling since May 17, when the State Board declined to hire any of the three finalists identified in a nationwide search. Instead, the State Board voted to start over with an entirely new search, which would likely begin in the fall.

That development means the State Board needs to hire an interim president to bridge the gap until a long-term replacement can be named.

Last week, State Board Vice President Debbie Critchfield told Idaho Education News that it was important to name an interim president before Kustra leaves campus.

“As a board member this is a priority to have the conversation and make a selection so we can reduce some of the anxiety about what the next year looks like,” Critchfield said.

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State Board chief communications and legislative affairs officer Mike Keckler said the interim president would be expected to provide leadership and stability during the time of transition.

“In terms of an interim president, the board is looking for a leader who will maintain Boise State’s momentum, have the trust of the students, faculty and staff and will help facilitate the transition for the next president once that individual is named,” Keckler said last week.

Kustra has served as president since 2003. During his tenure, he presided over more than $450 million in capital projects and oversaw a period of growth and expansion that culminated in record student enrollment last fall. With Kustra as university president, the football team rose to national prominence on the strength of three Fiesta Bowl victories.

Boise State University President Bob Kustra, photo courtesy of Boise State University.

Kustra announced his retirement plans in November, kicking off the initial search for his successor. Last week, Keckler said the State Board paid Washington, D.C.,-based AGB Search $86,000 to conduct the initial search for Kustra’s replacement. On top of that, the State Board agreed to pay consultants’ fees not to exceed $13,000, while Boise State paid for the candidates’ travel and lodging, as well as for public forums on campus.

Before it was abandoned, the initial search attracted a pool of 53 applicants, which was ultimately narrowed to three finalists.

Friday’s meeting will be open to the public. The meeting will take place at the State Board’s office, 650 W. State St., on the third floor. Anyone who cannot attend will be able to listen to the meeting via conference call by dialing (877) 820-7829 and entering the code 9096313 when prompted.

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