Al Gore floated as potential finalist

The recent background noise generated by the Presidential Search Committee’s “shroud of secrecy,” as one faculty member described it, could not be ignored, even by the person chosen for the position.

“Let me start by making a statement: I am not Al Gore,” Joseph Aoun, president-elect of Northeastern, said in his first address to the university community yesterday afternoon in the Curry Student Center.

Speculation eventually brought Gore into the fold.

Aoun’s remarks made reference to a report Tuesday by Wonkette, a political gossip blog based in Washington, D.C. It said former vice president Al Gore was “on the shortlist” for the presidency – of Northeastern – according to a “reliable-but-unverified” source.

Coinciding with The Globe’s announcement a day later, a report in The Boston Herald’s “Inside Track” column shot down any possibility of Gore’s candidacy. “There is a short list,” the newspaper quoted a source as saying, “But he ain’t on it.”

His press secretary, Kalee Krieder, said yesterday that Gore was traveling to promote the release of his film, ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ and could not be reached for comment.

For the past six years, Aoun has served as dean of the University of Southern California’s College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, where he has overseen approximately 11,000 of the university’s 33,000 enrolled undergraduate and graduate students.

His appointment was first reported Wednesday morning in The Boston Globe, which cited “sources familiar with the university’s decision,” and was confirmed by Northeastern officials later that afternoon.

The announcement draws to a close the committee’s responsibility for selecting a candidate to replace Northeastern President Richard Freeland, who plans to step down Aug. 15 after 10 years in the position.

Prior to this week, the university community, as well as local media outlets, were able to report very little on the committee’s progress.

Last month, an article in The Lowell Sun reported that Robert Culver, a Northeastern alumnus who currently serves as CEO of the Boston-based real estate firm MassDevelopment, was one of two finalists for the presidency.

The following day, an e-mail went out to MassDevelopment staff from company spokesperson Janet Hookalio which said that Culver was “not a finalist; he has never been interviewed by the university’s search committee.”

An earlier Boston Globe article identified College of Arts and Sciences Dean James Stellar and Democratic party fundraiser Alan D. Solomont as candidates who had interviewed for the committee, but did not make the final cut.

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