After a half year search only 20 candidates remain from an original pool of 400, as Yale continues its search for its next president, which they are expected to announce next month.
Former Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, chairman of the 16-member Yale corporation and head of the corporation's presidential search committee, said that the 20 front-runners are divided into a short list of prime candidates and a back-up list, but declined to disclose any names.
In the past, open searches have damaged the careers of candidates who were not chosen, he said.
Moreover, Yale was embarrassed during its 1977 presidential search, that resulted in the appointment of current President A. Bartlett Giamatti, when news reports revealed that Henry Rosovsky, then Harvard's Dean of Faculty, had first rejected the office.
Giamatti, who announced his resignation last spring, has not yet decided what he will do when he steps down in June.
The search committee responded to Giamatti's announcement by sending letters to over 100,000 Yale alumni requesting suggestions for the former English professor's successor.
Search committee members also sought advice from officers at other colleges, Yale faculty members, and various student groups including the Yale College Council (YCC), Yale's student government.
Council Chairman Noreen D. Roth '87 said, "All eight committee members met with the YCC and were very receptive to students' concerns and ideas. It was a special experience."
Little is known about the composition of the final group of 20 candidates, the salary they will be offered, or the qualifications sought by the search committe.
While speculation at the New Haven, Conn. campus is high, Vance would only say that the finalists included both men and women, as well as Yalies and non-Yalies.
Yale officials refuse to reveal their president's compensation, but it is believed that Giamatti's salary is in the neighborhood of that received by his Harvard counterpart, President Derek C. Bok. Bok's 1983-84 base salary was $101,022.
As for qualifications, students have their own ideas of what they want to see in their next president. According to Roth, the selectee should be committed to improving the university's science program and to increasing contact among the colleges and the graduate schools.
"Most importantly, it should be someone who is accessible to students," she said. "Just like Bart."