Former University of Oregon president picked to run Field Museum
Field board head cites nominee's 'courage, commitment, and passion' in the face of political pressure
04/13/2012 7:21 PM
After a six-month search for a new president, the Field Museum has found the right man to run the show: Former University of Oregon president Richard Lariviere.
Lariviere is an Iowa native with a doctorate in Sanskrit and a bachelor’s degree in history of religions. Before heading to Oregon in 2009, he was dean of the University of Texas’ college of liberal arts and then provost at the University of Kansas.
He ran the school in Eugene, Ore. for two years, before being fired in November 2011 amidst political turmoil. According to the media accounts, he was fired after ignoring orders from the board that ran the state’s university system, most notably giving out about $5 million in raises.
In a memo to the rest of the museum’s board recommending Lariviere for president, Field Museum chairman John Rowe said those actions and persistence in the face of criticism were just what the museum needs.
“Above all, Richard is committed to institutional integrity, and unwavering in his responsibility to the people and communities he serves,” Rowe wrote in the memo.
“In the face of strong political differences in Oregon’s complex university system, we believe Richard’s work at the University of Oregon demonstrated courage, commitment, and passion,” Rowe continued. “These are characteristics we value highly at the Field, and are exactly what’s needed to build upon the superb legacy of [outgoing museum president] John McCarter, and take the Museum into the future.”
Rowe also touted Lariviere’s record as a proven fundraiser.
Lariviere was chosen after a search that included “an impressive roster of exceptionally qualified candidates reflecting great gender, ethnic, and career diversity,” according to Rowe’s memo. The Field’s board is expected to vote in Lariviere next week.