By Tim Leeds
Montana State University Interim President Terry P. Roark is meeting with Commissioner of Higher Education Richard A. Crofts today to discuss how to provide leadership for Montana State University-Northern.
Mike Rao, current chancellor of MSU-Northern, announced Tuesday afternoon that he will resign to assume the duties of president of Central Michigan University (CMU) July 1.
Roark said they hope to find leadership for MSU-Northern as early as possible, but at this point it's too early to tell anything. He said looking at the time scale, they probably will need to find an interim chancellor while conducting a search for a permanent replacement.
Roark said he hopes to be able to find someone to fill the position before Rao leaves, but they haven't even had time to discuss it yet.
"I certainly hope so," he said, "the campus will need leadership, we will need a chancellor for Northern; it's too early to even have good ideas at this stage."
Regent Lynn Hamilton of Havre said it's going to be difficult for MSU-Northern, but she is confident things will work out.
"The campus has a lot of potential," she said, "and I think it will carry forward."
She said this is not an unusual process, campuses have been through this before. She said they will have to wait and see what comes out of the meeting between Crofts and Roark, and just wait and let things happen.
Rao took the position at MSU-Northern in July of 1998. He was president of Mission College, an 11,000-student public community college in California's Silicon Valley, from 1994 to 1998.
Rao replaces Leonard E. Plachta as president of CMU, which serves 27,000 students and is a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division One "A" school in Mount Pleasant, Mich.