Following a conference call on Tuesday afternoon, the Montana Board of Regents offered the position of UM President to Seth Bodnar, and he accepted.

Bodnar becomes the 18th president of the university.

Associate Commissioner of Higher Education Kevin McRae said late Tuesday afternoon that the decision did come more quickly than was anticipated.

"Last week, the presidential selection committee considered the tremendous campus feedback and input that community members submitted after taking part in the public forums," McRae said. "What struck the regents was the same strengths that impressed the committee about Seth Bodnar. He is the so-called non-traditional candidate, in that he does not have a career history in administration. Rather, he comes from a military leadership background, and is currently an executive with General Electric."

McRae said the combination of education and experience won over the regents.

"His record of military leadership, combined with his academics, being a Rhodes Scholar and having earned two masters degrees from Oxford University, his vision for the university moving forward, continuing the tradition of excellence while meeting the challenges of the university ahead, that resonated with university community and with the regents."

UM History Professor Mehrdad Kia, an outspoken critic of the present administration, was not pleased with the hire.

"The university has selected an individual who has never run anything as small as even a department at a university," Kia said. "He does not have a Phd, does not have any academical research record of recognition, either nationally or internationally. We are rolling the dice and bringing probably the riskiest candidate in the pool of four."


Bodnar has accepted the position , but it must be officially ratified at the next Board of Regents meeting in November. He will assume the office now held by interim President Sheila Stearns on January 1, 2018.

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