In September of 207 University of South Dakota President James W. Abbott announced his retirement after 20 years in that position. Now the search committee that has been working to find Abbott's successor has narrowed down the field of candidates to four.

Regent Kevin Schieffer, who chairs the presidential search process said the finalists will be on campus in Vermillion next week April 24-25 for scheduled meetings with constituents and regents.

Let's meet the four finalists:

Kelli R. McCormack Brown, Milledgeville, Ga., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, Georgia College & State University. Since 2013, Brown has served as the chief academic officer for Georgia’s public liberal arts university. Brown holds a Ph.D. in education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, master and bachelor degrees in public health from The University of Toledo, and an associate in applied science degree from Michael J. Owens Technical College.

Christopher Callahan, Phoenix, Ariz., dean, vice provost, and professor, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Arizona State University. Callahan holds three leadership positions at ASU: founding dean of the Cronkite School, vice provost of the ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus, and CEO of Arizona PBS. He has a master of public administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a bachelor of science degree in journalism from Boston University.

Sheila Gestring, Vermillion, S.D., vice president of finance and chief financial officer, University of South Dakota. Prior to coming to USD, Gestring was chief financial officer at Flathead Valley Community College in Montana and worked in increasingly responsible finance positions for South Dakota state government. She has a M.B.A. from the University of South Dakota and a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from the University of Sioux Falls.

• Philip K. Way, Slippery Rock, Pa., interim president, Slippery Rock University. Since July 2017, Way has been responsible for the leadership of all facets of Slippery Rock University as interim president. He has been Slippery Rock’s provost and vice president for academic affairs since 2013 and for student affairs since 2014, while concurrently serving as a professor in the College of Business. Way was educated in the United Kingdom and came to the U.S. on a fellowship to Harvard University. He holds a Ph.D. in industrial and business studies and a master’s degree in industrial relations, both from the University of Warwick. His B.A. degree in economics is from Cambridge University.

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