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Parker Executive Search Finds Next President for the University of Wyoming

March 26, 2020 – Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search has assisted the University of Wyoming in the recruitment Edward Seidel as the school’s 28th president. The board of trustees announced last year that it would not be renewing the contract of Laurie Nichols, who was hired in 2016. Laura Wilder, the search firm’s president, is leading the assignment along with vice president of higher education Porsha Williams.

The trustees’ vote completed a process that began last July, when a 16-member university committee was appointed to spearhead the search. After conducting three listening sessions, the committee worked with Parker Executive Search to solicit candidates for the presidency, and more than 60 people applied. The committee conducted video interviews of about 10 candidates and forwarded a list of six semifinalists to the board of trustees last month. After interviewing the semifinalists Feb. 12-13, the board publicly identified Mr. Seidel and two other finalists and brought them to campus for public forums.


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The leaders of University of Wyoming’s faculty, staff and student senates participated in the interviews and board of trustees discussions, and they have praise for the process used to select the new president. “One of the finalists told the trustees that ‘The process used for this search was impeccable.’ I agree,” said Ken Chestek, faculty senate chair. “Parker Executive Search did a fantastic job of recruiting a strong field of applicants.”

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Seidel and are confident that he will provide strong leadership for our state’s university,” said Dave True, chairman of the board of trustees. “We express appreciation to those who participated in the presidential search process, which resulted in a field of strong candidates and allowed us to make an outstanding choice for the university’s new leader.”

A distinguished scholar who has led academic, research and innovation programs at multiple universities, Dr. Seidel is currently vice president for economic development and innovation for the University of Illinois System. His long record of leadership experience includes more than three years as director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was among the original co-principal investigators for Blue Waters, a federally funded project that brought one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers to Urbana-Champaign. Previously, he was senior vice president for research and innovation for the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow, Russia, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before that, Dr. Seidel directed the office of cyberinfrastructure and led the directorate of mathematical and physical sciences as National Science Foundation assistant director. He also led the Center for Computation & Technology at Louisiana State University and directed the numerical relativity group at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Germany.

Related: Universities Step Up Efforts to Find New Leaders

Established as a land-grant institution in 1886, the University of Wyoming has nearly 200 areas of study, drawing more than 12,500 students from all 50 states and 90 countries. The school is the state’s only four-year university and is a nationally recognized teaching and research university. The university is known for its accomplished faculty and world-class facilities. It boasts of a small student/faculty ratio as well as quality undergraduate and graduate programs within its colleges of arts and sciences, agriculture and natural resources, business, education, engineering and applied science, health sciences, law, school of energy resources, and Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources.

Veteran Recruiters

Parker Executive Search conducts executive searches for corporations, colleges and universities and collegiate athletics. The firm has a wide range of client schools, including Notre Dame, Dartmouth, the University of Chicago, Iowa State, Fordham, University of Central Florida, among many others.


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Ms. Wilder is responsible for the strategic leadership and day-to-day operations of the search firm. She has been with the firm for 19 years and is responsible for leading the development and delivery of recruiting strategies and best practices across its core practice areas.

Ms. Wilder has been involved in all aspects of the search process and has conducted over 1,000 leadership searches. Her experience spans across AAU public research universities, regional and state colleges, and private liberal arts institutions. She has recruited for leadership positions across all levels of higher education and collegiate athletics. Ms. Wilder has also actively worked on middle- and senior-level searches for a variety of corporate clients in the sales, marketing, material management, logistics, human resources, general management, operations, manufacturing, construction and finance functions.

Ms. Williams leads business, client and candidate development for the firm’s higher education practice. Her career with the firm began as chief of staff to the president and quickly advanced through the ranks to her current leadership role. She is responsible for client management, candidate development and recruitment, and search execution. Ms. Williams has significant experience recruiting world class leaders among colleges and universities across the country.  She has completed over 200 searches. In addition, Ms. Williams has conducted substantial work for Fortune 500 companies in the financial services industry.

Related: Why Universities Have Stepped Up Efforts to Involve Search Firms

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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