Nick in the AM: Amid budget turmoil, WIU president pursuing Boise State job – News – Journal Star

The president of Western Illinois University is among five candidates for the same job at an Idaho college.

The Illinois budget crisis appears to be one factor in Jack Thomas’ pursuit of the open position at Boise State University. He is scheduled to visit that campus Thursday for various forums and receptions.

Thomas has been WIU president since 2011 and was provost and academic vice president at the Macomb-based university before that.

“Like my colleagues across the university, I have been impacted by the unprecedented state budgetary crisis,” Thomas said in a statement issued last week. “Therefore, I am exploring those positions for which I have been nominated.

“I hope the university community realizes that I remain committed to working hard and advocating for this great University for as long as I serve as president.“

Boise State narrowed a 53-person presidential candidate field, according to GateHouse Media Illinois.

The other finalists are James Lentini, a vice president at Oakland University in Michigan; Kevin Reynolds, a vice president at Portland (Ore.) State University; Robbyn Wacker, an administrator at the University of Northern Colorado; and Daniel Weeks, president of the University of Northern British Columbia.

Each finalist has been spending one day this week on the Boise State campus. The university is streaming on the internet some of their appearances. Streams for Thomas’ appearances, set to begin about 2:15 CDT today, can be found by clicking here and here.

Whoever is chosen as Boise State president is to replace Bob Kustra, who is to retire June 30. Like Thomas, Kustra has an Illinois connection.

From 1991 to 1998, Kustra served as Illinois lieutenant governor, under Gov. Jim Edgar. Kustra ran for U.S. Senate in 1996 but lost in the Republican primary to Al Salvi in an upset.

Salvi lost in the general election to Dick Durbin, a Democrat who continues to hold that seat.

Kustra also served in the Illinois General Assembly. He resigned as lieutenant governor to become president of Eastern Kentucky University before he headed to Boise in 2003.

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