Sources: Neville G. Pinto to be named University of Cincinnati's new president

UC board to vote Saturday morning
Posted at 12:35 PM, Dec 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-17 09:11:07-05

CINCINNATI -- University of Cincinnati will vote Saturday morning to name Neville G. Pinto its next permanent president, according to two sources familiar with the search.

Pinto is interim president at University of Louisville, but he has deep roots at UC, beginning as a professor of chemical engineering in 1985 and working his way up to dean of the graduate school.

He moved to UL in 2011 and served as dean of its Speed School of Engineering.

Pinto could not immediately be reached for comment.

Greg Vehr, UC's vice president of communication, declined to confirm Pinto was the nominee. The UC board of trustees will vote at 11 a.m. Saturday and announce the new president following the vote.

Speculation about the new president had centered around Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, the former president and CEO of Procter & Gamble.

But McDonald  responded to a WCPO request for confirmation that he was not taking the UC job: "I'm the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, focused solely on improving the lives of Veterans," he wrote in an email. "President Elect Trump has not yet announced a successor. Even if he selects a new secretary, my mission serving my fellow veterans will be far from over."

UC trustees will meet at 11 a.m. Saturday to vote on a new university president.

If approved Saturday, Pinto will be UC's third in 2016. Santa Ono left UC to become president and vice chancellor at the University of British Columbia. Interim President Beverly Davenport accepted an offer to be chancellor of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She will remain at UC through January.

The process, which has been guided by Board Chairman Robert Richardson, Jr., did not include publicly disclosing the names of candidates. That's drawn criticism from UC's faculty union. 

"We would love for the community as a whole to be involved with this," AAUP-UC President Ron Jones told WCPO. "It's been sort of a slow process, and then all of a sudden they announce they've made their choice. It kind of flies in the face of what universities typically do. I don't really see the rationale."

Witt/Kieffer, the executive search firm paid by UC to help find the next president, said in a publication about best practices that there is no right or wrong answer to the question of open interviews compared to confidential ones. 

“Even when confidentiality is an option, tradition often creates the expectation that faculty and students will be participants in the process—or at least fully informed of its progress. Regardless of the approach the board chooses, it must discuss the issue of confidentiality at the outset of the search process. A quiet path to the highest quality candidate pool could result in a noisy arrival for a new leader if the followers are not agreeable.”

Follow Bob Driehaus on FacebookGoogle, and Twitter.