Clinton set take over on campus

August 30, 2002

Being a former member of the Clinton administration seems to have become a prerequisite for running US universities, writes John Marcus.

Richard Celeste took office this summer as president of Colorado College. The former US ambassador to India is one of six ex-Clinton administration officials to have become university presidents.

They were picked, say boards of trustees, because of their administrative experience, knowledge of fundraising and political talents.

"Good leadership skills are pretty transferable," said Mr Celeste, who took over in July at the 2,000-student liberal arts school - its first president who did not come from academia.

Cynics have another explanation. They point out that these Clintonites, who lost their jobs with the election of George W. Bush, need something to do until their party comes back into power.

Other examples include Mark Gearan, who was Clinton's Peace Corps director. Mr Gearan has become president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Donna Shalala, who was President Clinton's secretary of housing and urban development, has been named president of the University of Miami.

Also among the ranks are: Lawrence Summers, former treasury secretary, who took over as president of Harvard University; Shirley Jackson, Mr Clinton's Nuclear Regulatory Commission head, who has been named president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and Jamie Studley, former general counsel of the Clinton administration's Department of Education, now president of Skidmore College.

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