Archive for Monday, March 2, 2009

KU says Provost Richard Lariviere leaving for Oregon post

Kansas University Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Richard Lariviere will leave KU to become the president of the University of Oregon, according to a KU news release Monday.

March 2, 2009


Kansas University Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Richard Lariviere will leave KU to become the president of the University of Oregon, pending approval by a state board.

Lariviere’s departure would create a situation at KU where its top two leadership positions would be in transition, as Chancellor Robert Hemenway plans to retire effective June 30.

Lariviere was recommended by a search committee and George Pernsteiner, chancellor of the Oregon University System, which oversees seven universities.

“Dr. Lariviere has a unique and diverse set of skills, leadership qualities and broad experiences that make him the right person to take the UO to its next level of excellence,” John von Schlegell, a member of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, which is poised to appoint Lariviere as president, said in a statement.

Lariviere is scheduled to visit the campus March 10. If approved March 13, Lariviere would begin his new job July 1.

“The University of Oregon is one of the country’s best research and teaching institutions,” Lariviere said, adding that the opportunity to lead such a university is rare. “I was contacted about it and had to pursue it.”

He said he would look back fondly on his tenure at KU should he be formally approved.

“I’m proud of my association with a superb faculty and a community of people who really generously give of themselves,” Lariviere said.

Looking ahead

Lariviere said he hoped to be able to help the University of Oregon identify ways to grow its academic progress and navigate a difficult fiscal situation.

“Richard has accomplished a great deal during his tenure as provost,” Hemenway said in a statement. “I have spoken with Richard, and we will ensure that responsibilities of the provost office will proceed in regular fashion as we transition to new leadership.”

Donna Shank, chairwoman of the Kansas Board of Regents, said the university would likely name an interim provost should Lariviere leave, and said that while both leadership posts could be in transition, both Hemenway and Lariviere would at least be around until the end of June.

She said KU was still in good shape, and a vacancy at the provost level could make the chancellor position more attractive, as a new hire would get to name a provost, too.

“It’s not a great situation to be in,” and not one that any institution would necessarily volunteer for, Shank said. “But it’s one I think we’re handling pretty well.”

Shank said the new position was a good one for Lariviere, and she always expected that with his talent level, Lariviere would be tapped to lead an institution someday.

Quick accomplishments

Lariviere was chosen to replace Provost David Shulenburger in February 2006 when Shulenburger announced that he would take a post at the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges in Washington, D.C.

Before coming to KU, Lariviere was dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin from 1999-2006.

During his tenure, Lariviere has been involved in a number of major decisions and programs at KU.

He led reorganizations of the graduate school and the School of Fine Arts, an effort to expand KU’s School of Pharmacy and student recruitment tools.

Lariviere has also shepherded KU through a number of budget cuts this year, and is working to prepare for expected additional cuts still to come.

His wife, Jan, also is involved on campus, serving as the program coordinator for UKanTeach, a collaborative program of KU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Education that leads to a degree in science or math and a teaching license in four years.

Steve Warren, vice provost for research at KU, said Lariviere’s departure would be a big loss for the KU community.

“I think he did a lot in a short time here,” Warren said, adding that his talents would suit him well for a job like Oregon’s president. “I’m not surprised he would be offered this position.”

Warren cited a tuition compact with students and leadership in initiatives with the Kansas Bioscience Authority as two of Lariviere’s accomplishments.

“He instilled a lot of confidence in the faculty and the students,” Warren said.

KU spokeswoman Lynn Bretz noted that while it would be premature to comment on any search process for a new provost before Lariviere is officially approved, the last search for a KU provost involved a universitywide search committee that resulted in four finalists being submitted to the chancellor.

The finalists visited campus and met with faculty and students before the chancellor made a decision.

Mixed emotions

Mary Lee Hummert, vice provost for faculty development, said she was one of Lariviere’s first hires at the university. She said even though he has not yet officially turned in his resignation papers, it would be hard for her to imagine that Oregon’s state board would not approve him for the new post.

“He certainly is one of the leaders in higher education today,” she said. “He is extremely smart, and he is able to cut to the heart of a problem.”

She said she and others had mixed emotions Monday when the announcement was made — while they wished him well, “we certainly recognize how important he is here at the University of Kansas as well.”


imagold 9 years, 1 month ago

Anyone else hear that...splash, splash, splash...Yes, it's people jumping ship. As a passenger on that ship, I'm feeling a little lost at sea.

pieces_of_eight 9 years, 1 month ago

It's an upward move, at least. He was pretty 'Type A', very demanding. I'm curious what the next Provost will be like.

LogicMan 9 years, 1 month ago


Maybe Budig can come back as interim leader?

KU_cynic 9 years, 1 month ago

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password 9 years, 1 month ago

Good riddance... KU was just a stepping stone for him. Dean of CLAS at TX. then Provost at KU and now Mr President at Univ of OR. He'll be a fighting duck now.

jimmyspeachbaskets 9 years, 1 month ago

As soon as he heard he wasn't going to be Chancellor he was gone. Totally predictable.

spankyandcranky 9 years, 1 month ago

Go ducks! I wish I were in Oregon right now. Tillamook squeeky cheese curds are calling my name. Long live all those who remember Steve Prefontaine! Nike and cross country runners everywhere are still in awe.

clyde_never_barks 9 years, 1 month ago

This is better news than the governor leaving our state! These great announcements come in three's - what/who's next?

This guy was a loser from the moment he set foot on campus and redecorated his palatial office during a time when budgets were under scrutiny. He used KU for what he needed - a resume builder.

Good riddance!

Oh, if you are from Oregon, don't read these posts...he's a great guy...really!

kusp8 9 years, 1 month ago

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wahoooo!!!!!!!!!!!! Now how do we get rid of Marchiony!?

But seriously, Lariviere turned away a lot of donors at KU. I had some friends who worked at KU and whenever Lariviere would talk to the Engineering, etc., big donors they would just end up ticked off. Glad that a-hole's gone.

Danimal 9 years, 1 month ago

I hope he has lots of fun dealing with Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, who basically owns OU. Knight is often credited with having OU's last couple athletic directors and some other officials fired. These two should be a great match for each other.

Maybe now we can get booze on campus.

CarterFaucheaux 9 years, 1 month ago

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kusp8 9 years, 1 month ago

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Jonathan Kealing 9 years, 1 month ago

Lawrenceguy, Pretty sure you're not going to see a 40 percent budget cut, even if you mean only 40 percent of state budget. Even the darkest forecasts, which were made before the stimulus legislation passed, were topping out at a 19 percent cut.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

KU_cynic 9 years, 1 month ago

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penguin 9 years, 1 month ago

This is great news! I have to say I have seen the guy in action in Topeka and Lawrence...never met a person that was overly impressed with him. It is also probably good that this position turnover at the same time we get a new Chancellor. The only disturbing thing is that this fast turnover could be the norm for this position unless we get someone who actually loves KU...and not just the paycheck. Again not an easy thing to do, but should be at least considered in the hiring process.

manus_flexibilis 9 years, 1 month ago

An Oregon transplant, might have pull a W. and 'Duck' ;-O

imastinker 9 years, 1 month ago

Why don't people like him? A friend of mine worked for him and didn't like him, but never said why.

davidsmom 9 years, 1 month ago

Nobody is jumping ship - this is totally normal and very common, almost an everyday-occurrence, in higher education. If you work in higher ed and read the Chronicle of Higher Education, you know that. Provosts and Vice Chancellors move up to presidencies and chancellorships all the time - it's the last upward career move they can make.

gccs14r 9 years, 1 month ago

That would mean that Chancellors and Presidents leave all the time. That seems unlikely.

nobody1793 9 years, 1 month ago

"Nobody is jumping ship"

If companies were hiring right now, I just might...

clyde_never_barks 9 years, 1 month ago

Where ya been penguin? Inquiring minds want to know.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 1 month ago

This is a shame. I really liked what Lariviere was starting.

Guess the mediocrats at KU have gotten their way. He expected excellence, and many at KU want comfortable mediocrity.

KU will suffer because of this.

penguin 9 years, 1 month ago

Let's just say there were meetings both at the KS BOR and with Legislators...that were not too impressive. My favorite misstep was during a meeting on the teacher shortage in Kansas where he had to be informed that the KU School of Ed was the only one that had a five year program for their teachers. I had never seen so many Provosts give one of their own a funny look like I can't describe.

Overall, he is just kind of lacking in the personality department. This was something his predecessor had on him. In one area, I do give him credit for wanting to be his own man. David Shulenburger (the previous Provost) often had to be a tool for Hemenway...especially on tuition increases. Schulenberger was always there to dive on grenades, but Lariviere was willing to not just be a fall guy. Unfortunately, his efforts were also what alienated him from others.

Oh one other possibility on Lariviere's disconnect with people is the sort of small moat he has outside his house. I have heard some entertaining stories about it. However, I do hear that it has kept the black knight at bay.

clyde_never_barks 9 years, 1 month ago

nightmare - give it a break. Lariviere was only concerned about his own excellence.

penguin - go on, this is getting good. Tell us more.

BADUCK 9 years ago

The Ducks will be glad to take him off your hands..and believe me he will have his hands full here. We don't take lightly our right to govern, and dealing with the Athletic department will be a challenge and then dealing with all the underbelly crap that all Universities have ..and we have our share here....again will be fun. And then learning Oregonians stubbornness will be a huge learning curve for him.
Then one last thing...when you all grow up and figure out that a good resume gets you the big yourself will be job hopping your way to a great resume. Grow up boneheads that is how the system works.

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