PULLMAN – Rafael Stone, a member of the Washington State University Board of Regents since 2000, will chair the search committee seeking a successor to President V. Lane Rawlins.

Rawlins, who has served as WSU’s president since 2000, last month announced that he plans to retire in June 2007.

Stone will be joined on the search committee by fellow regents Connie Niva of Everett and Laura Jennings of Seattle. Kenneth Alhadeff, Seattle, the chair of the WSU Board of Regents, will serve on the committee as an ex officio member.

“There is no more important task for the Board of Regents than the selection of a president. Clearly, the selection of President Rawlins set the stage for dramatic progress by WSU. We plan to be every bit as successful in picking our next leader,” Stone said.

Stone said other members of the search committee will be selected through a process to begin after the fall semester starts on Aug. 21. He said that the committee, when complete, will include representatives of WSU’s various campuses and constituencies, including students, faculty, staff and alumni members.

“WSU is a statewide, multicampus institution that has a broad influence on the everyday lives of countless people in Washington and beyond. We plan to assemble a search committee that reflects that reality and that can speak to the many tasks that any university president must perform,” Stone said.

Stone said the committee will use a search consultant to assist with the national search. The process to select a search consultant commenced several weeks ago. Working with the consultant, the committee will develop a set of candidate requirements and qualifications tailored to the university’s structure, culture and stature as one of America’s leading research universities. The committee also will hold meetings around the state to gather input on what people are looking for in a new WSU president, he said.

Stone said the Board of Regents’ goal is to have a new president ready to take over upon Rawlins’ retirement.

Stone is a partner in the Seattle-based law firm of Foster Pepper PLLC, and chairs the firm’s Investment Management Practice Group. He is a member of the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys, the Pension Real Estate Association, the American Bar Association, and the Washington State Bar Association. He was the first chair of the African American Heritage Foundation and is a recipient of the Washington State Bar Association’s Affirmative Action Award. He received his bachelor’s degree as well as his law degree from the University of Washington.

Alhadeff, a regent since 1996, is chairman of Elttaes Enterprises, chairman of the Kenneth and Marleen Alhadeff Charitable Foundation, president and CEO of MiKen Properties, and owner of the Majestic Bay Theatres. He serves as board chairman of The 5th Avenue Theatre, board president of Northwest School for Hearing-Impaired Children, and trustee of KeyBank National Association, among other leadership roles. He received a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University.

Jennings, a regent since July 2005, consults for start-up companies in the Seattle area. She spent 12 years at Microsoft Corp. as vice president of worldwide strategic planning, vice president of MSN and in other capacities. Jennings currently serves on the boards of Laird Norton Tyee, SimplyFun LLC, Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle and the YWCA of Seattle King County and Snohomish County. She received a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in management from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

A regent since June 2003, Niva just completed two terms on the Washington State Transportation Commission and served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation. She serves as a Port Commissioner for the Port of Everett and is a founding board member of the Center for Women and Democracy. She served as a member of the Everett City Council from 1986-1990. She earned a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from Washington State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Seattle University.

Washington State University is a top-tier research university and one of America’s leading land-grant universities. WSU’s main campus is in Pullman, while its regional campuses are in Spokane, the Tri-Cities and Vancouver. Research and extension centers are located throughout the state, and WSU Distance Degree Programs serve students statewide and around the world. Enrollment is more than 22,000 statewide.

For related article on Rawlins retirement, go to www.wsutoday.wsu.edu/completestory.asp?StoryID=3072