To the Editor:
This letter is in response to Ms. Monica Owens’ letter arguing that Marc Holtzman would be a good choice for president of CSU. She compares Mr. Holtzman’s “non-traditional” candidacy to that of the new president of Harvard University. In this case, labeling both candidates as “non-traditional,” might mislead some into believing that their qualifications are equivalent. I would recommend that Ms. Owens (and whoever is interested in this comparison) visit the Harvard Web site at http://www.harvard.edu/ and read about their remarkable president, Dr. Lawrence Summers.
Dr. Summers has an undergraduate degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. from Harvard. He has also been a faculty member at both of these institutions, and was one of the youngest tenured professors in Harvard’s history. He has published over 100 scholarly works, and was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the preeminent organization of scientific scholars in the United States. The one thing that Dr. Summers does have in common with Mr. Holtzman is experience in government as well as academia; apparently this is the basis for him being labeled “non-traditional”.
In the past decade, Dr. Summers has been the national undersecretary of the treasury for international affairs, deputy secretary of the treasury, and most recently the secretary of the treasury of the United States, acting as principal economic advisor to the president. Harvard can be proud of recruiting such an extraordinary person into their presidency. I leave it to the reader to compare the qualifications of Dr. Summers and Mr. Holtzman.
The point is this; the phrase “non-traditional” has been misused as a blanket term to lump together persons whose qualifications are not even in the same ball park. In itself, “non-traditional” should not be considered a qualification, and in fact can be used to mask a lack of qualifications.
CSU has made great strides in becoming a nationally prominent university. We should continue its proud tradition of striving for excellence. I hope that the search committee and the Board of Governors will not succumb to political pressures, but rather will evaluate all candidates based on all their merits. CSU deserves a truly outstanding president.
Patricia Bedinger, Ph.D.