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UMass Officials Brief Gov. Patrick On Presidential Search Progress

Gov. Deval Patrick says he wants the next president of the University of Massachusetts system to have national clout amid a report that a former congressman is one of the leading candidates.

The governor said the replacement for President Jack Wilson must be able to raise money outside the state and also represent the university in the upper echelon of public higher education across the country.

The Boston Globe reported Patrick officials are concerned about the political fallout as the search to replace retiring university president Jack Wilson appears to be narrowing to UMass-Lowell Chancellor Martin Meehan.

Meehan resigned from Congress in 2007 to take over leadership of his alma mater.

Patrick was lambasted last year after he tried to appoint state Sen. Marian Walsh to a $175,000 state post.

But the trustees and administration officials say the meeting was a routine briefing for the governor regarding the search.

Education Secretary Paul Reville says the governor is insisting on a wide open process to find the best candidate possible and has not taken a position regarding any of those in the running. Reville wouldn't confirm who is among the candidates, but acknowledges that sometimes the best candidate is local.

"It absolutely may be the case that you have a candidate close to home, or on the other hand, you want a candidate that has national stature at the same time, so we're open-minded about the results," Reville said.

Reville expects the search to be completed by mid-March.

WBUR's Steve Brown contributed reporting.

This program aired on November 22, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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