President Emeritus Edward Boling said while extremely unique, the current presidential selection process has some similarities to the process by which he was selected.
In 1970 The University of Tennessee was experiencing more dissension than it has ever known before or since, Boling said. At the same time, its most beloved president, Andy Holt, decided to retire.
"It was a difficult time," Boling said. "Everybody wanted change, but no one knew why."
Discontent with the Vietnam War among the student body led students to ask for an "outsider" and asked that Boling not be a candidate altogether. When Boling became president, Boling had already served as budget director for the state and said he was able to deal with the intense scrutiny of the students and faculty.
Like the current selection process, the UT community voiced a strong opinion of what they wanted from their next president when Boling was selected.
"It made me aware of what they wanted," said Boling. "When I became president, I set up structures that allowed me to talk to people and people to talk to me, and it was very successful. Had (the selection process) been closed completely, I would not have known exactly what to do."
Boling did say that there was more privacy involved with his selection. The Board of Trustees met, voted, and hired in privacy. Boling described the current process as, "an effort to get all of the university involved with the hiring of the president."
"I believe some things should be kept in private," Boling said. "Everybody feels like they are in on the process. The new president will be forced to deal a lot of scrutiny because of the knowledge that everyone has about him. It will be important to remember that nobody is perfect."
Boling did express that he was pleasantly surprised with the way the current process has gone, and that he felt the Presidential Search Committee has done an excellent job finding a new president.