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Theobald is finalist for Northern Iowa presidency

Neil Theobald served as Temple’s president for three years until his negotiated resignation this summer, amid concerns about the university’s merit scholarship program.

Former Temple president Neil Theobald is one of three finalists for the University of Northern Iowa’s presidency, The Iowa Board of Regents announced Monday morning.

Theobald was one of 46 applicants applying for the vacant presidency of the school in Cedar Hills, Iowa. The presidential search committee was keeping the applicants’ names confidential until it announced Theobald as a finalist on Monday.

Temple hired Theobald in September 2012, and he began his presidency in January 2013. He served for more than three years before he resigned on July 21 after Temple’s Board of Trustees voted “no confidence” and planned his dismissal. A Board spokesman said that the dismissal was related to Theobald’s firing of Provost Hai-Lung Dai, and a $22 million deficit in the merit scholarship program.

Dan Power, a Northern Iowa professor chairing the presidential search committee, told the Cedar Rapids Gazette that Theobald addressed the controversy from his Temple presidency in an initial interview for the Northern Iowa job.

“He did address it in a number of ways, and the search consultants have tried to give us some perspective, too,” Power told the Gazette. “We’ll all know better after his visit.”

Theobald told The Temple News in August that he is a faculty member in the College of Education, and that he would be on sabbatical for the next 12 months. He added that a nondisclosure agreement with the university limited what he could tell The Temple News about his removal.

Before arriving at Temple, Theobald was the senior vice president and chief financial officer at Indiana University.

The Iowa Board of Regents will announce its choice for Northern Iowa’s new president on Dec. 6. Theobald is scheduled to hold an open forum on Northern Iowa’s campus on Tuesday afternoon.

Owen McCue can be reached at owen.mccue@temple.edu or on Twitter @Owen_McCue.

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