Despite rumors, Nucci not a candidate to fill future president vacancy in 2013

Derek Anderson
Journal Staff

Vice President of external affairs John Nucci has formally taken himself out of the running for President David Sargent’s position vacancy in 2013 following a Boston Herald article naming him a prime contender.

Both Nucci and Martin Meehan, UMass Lowell chancellor and former congressman, were reported to be taking part in a “bruising behind-the-scenes battle,” stating that the two were fighting over “the plum $1.5-million gig running Suffolk University.” Despite the Herald reportings, both Nucci and Meehan have denied any involvement in the consideration for future president position of the university.

“With Sargent’s contract set to expire in 2013 – when he is 82 – the jockeying to replace him has already begun, insiders say,” reported the Herald. Although Sargent’s retirement is approaching, it was extended last year by two years, fueling a controversy regarding the president’s pay. Now with a longer term tacked on, Sargent’s replacement search has slowly come to surface with the Board of Trustee’s “succession planning committee,” a group dedicated to finding qualities the university needs in its next leader.

When Meehan left the Board of Trustees last year, there were speculations that he was preparing himself for the position. Meehan, however, was quoted by the Herald stating, “I’m very happy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. I’m fully engaged in transforming this campus and have no interest in becoming president of Suffolk University.”

Nucci did not give the Herald a quote about the position or the article, but recently wrote an email to the members of the Administrative Council stating, “I must say, I am flattered by the Herald’s suggestion, however, as I informed the President as well as several trustees months ago, I am not a candidate, and I will not be a candidate, and am not interested in serving as president under any conditions.” Nucci went on to write, “Suffolk University is poised to achieve even greater heights in the years ahead. I attended this school, as did all three of my sons, and my fondness for it knows no bounds. There is nobody who can do for this school what President Sargent has accomplished. To reach new academic levels, his successor will need to be a person with the highest academic credentials and experience in the field of education.”

Although the Herald’s article on the subject led to the assumption that both Nucci and Meehan were still attempting to chase the new position, there is sufficient evidence to prove otherwise. With Sargent’s retirement down the road, trustee members and others involved have said there is no search underway for a replacement.

“There isn’t a job–there’s nothing to angle for,” William T. Hogan III, a member of the president’s succession planning committee, told the Herald.

“The succession committee isn’t a search committee,” he said.

According to the Herald, the committee is “charged with finding the qualities the school should be looking for in the next leader.”

With both candidates stating they have no interest and Nucci’s statements to the Suffolk Administrative Council, it is clear that neither will be gunning for Sargent’s position.