UMass search panel names 2 chancellor finalists


Staff Writer

Published: 02-08-2023 7:37 PM

AMHERST — Two higher education leaders from the Midwest are finalists to succeed Kumble R. Subbaswamy as chancellor at the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts

In an email to the campus community Wednesday, search committee Chairman Victor Woolridge announced that Javier Reyes, interim chancellor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, and Paul Tikalsky, dean of The College of Engineering, Architecture & Technology at Oklahoma State University, have been selected as finalists.

Their names are being forwarded to UMass President Marty Meehan and the board of trustees.

Both Tikalsky and Reyes will be on the Amherst campus in the coming weeks to meet with students, faculty, staff and some in the larger community.

Woolridge wrote that the 21-member search committee held several forums in September, received feedback via email and an online form, and was assisted by the search firm Isaacson, Miller. That company communicated with 108 potential candidates, interviewing 26 individuals. Then, the committee interviewed 12 candidates before selecting the finalists.

“Responding to our directive from the Board of Trustees and President Meehan, we set out to identify innovative and bold leaders who are prepared to continue the ascendance that UMass Amherst has enjoyed under Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy’s impressive, decade-long tenure at the university,” Woolridge wrote. “The committee has met that challenge.”

Subbaswamy, 71, last year announced he would retire at the end of June, citing accomplishments during his tenure as building on the excellence he found on his arrival in Amherst in July 2012.

“By channeling our revolutionary spirit, we have become one of the fastest rising top-tier public research universities in the country,” Subbaswamy said.

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His achievements, according to the university, also included boosting undergraduate applications and the six-year graduation rate; increasing student diversity, from 21% students of color a decade ago to 37% this past year; and $213 million in research expenditures in fiscal year 2021, ranking first among public universities in New England when it comes to receiving National Science Foundation grants.

Woolridge also thanked committee Vice Chairwoman Laura Haas, dean of the Manning College of Information and Computer Sciences, and other members of the search committee who invested their diverse perspectives and countless hours into making the commitment to advancing UMass Amherst’s mission.

“As the chair of the UMass Amherst Chancellor Search Committee, I want to express my thanks for the valuable feedback and perspective that so many of you have offered during the UMass Amherst chancellor search process,” Woolridge wrote in the email.

More details about the finalists is available at

Scott Merzbach can be reached at]]>