BOSTON — Vice President Al Gore is one of about 500 people nominated for the presidency of Harvard University, according to the chairman of the university’s presidential search committee.
“He’ll go into our pool and be considered seriously,” Robert G. Stone Jr., a senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation, which will make the final choice, told The Boston Globe.
Stone said Gore, who graduated from Harvard in 1969, is unlikely to be selected.
“He doesn’t have the academic and intellectual standing,” Stone said in Tuesday’s newspaper.
Stone confirmed that four people have nominated Gore to succeed Neil L. Rudenstine, who plans to step down next summer.
Joseph S. Nye, dean of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, said the university was more likely to hire a nonpartisan figure.
“He’s an extremely bright man who has a Harvard degree, and you can’t get much better experience,” Nye said. “But he hasn’t been in the academic world.”
President Clinton and New York Sen.-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton are also rumored to be on the list, though university officials have not confirmed that.
Rudenstine was paid more than $342,000 for the 1998-99 school year.
Academics, politicians and business leaders are on the list, though Harvard spokesman Joe Wrinn said he wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few joke nominations.
Wrinn said he spent a week this summer shooting down rumors that Hillary Clinton would be Harvard president after Rush Limbaugh mentioned it on his show.
On Tuesday, the conservative radio talk show host sarcastically touted Gore’s qualifications as an effective vice president, published author and accomplished inventor.
“Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau spent a week in November mocking the nomination process. In his strip, a dean at fictional Walden University recommended his own school president for the job so he could step into the president’s shoes.
The strip also featured an undergraduate student nominating his roommate, and mentioned “Colonel Crunch” as a nominee. When informed that it’s “Captain Crunch” not “Colonel Crunch,” and that he is a cartoon character, an uninterested reporter at a Boston newspaper says in the strip, “Whatever ... do we want to go there?”
Harvard’s newspaper advertisement for the job lists simple requirements: “high intellectual distinction” and “demonstrated leadership qualities.”
Gore is a “deeply admired Harvard alumnus,” Stone said Tuesday, but added: “The committee continues to focus its attention on academic leaders who have spent much of their careers working in the educational and research domain.”
And Stone told The Boston Globe that Gore “doesn’t have the academic and intellectual standing.”
The president’s job is to keep the university among the world’s elite, maintain the institution’s huge fund-raising machine and get often diverse faculty members thinking as one unit.
Universities often bandy about the names of non-academics in their president searches but almost always select an intellectual from the ranks of academia.
“Harvard is still the most visible higher education institution in the United States,” said Stanley Ikenberry, president of the American Council on Education. “They will be first and foremost looking for an academic leader.”