After a nearly year-long search, David Lassner was chosen as the new president of the University of Hawaii by the school’s Board of Regents on Monday.
Lassner, UH’s longtime information technology executive, has been serving as the university’s interim president since September 2013.
One of two finalists, he was selected over retired Army Gen. Francis Wiercinski after a tense, two-hour discussion during which regents debated the integrity of the selection process and the two candidates’ qualifications.
Lassner received 11 votes, Wiercinski two, and there were two abstentions from regents who said the selection process was too flawed for them to make a decision.
“I think David (Lassner) understands the new normal,” said Regent Chuck Gee, another longtime UH administrator who served under five university presidents and three acting presidents during his tenure. “The new normal means three times more challenges, three times less resources to get the job done.”
In explaining their votes for Lassner, most regents cited his intimate familiarity with the university, his experience in academia and his ability to bring about change at UH while maintaining stability.
During a public appearance last month, Lassner promised to make UH an indigenous-serving university, a model for sustainability and 21st-century technology, and a place that Hawaii’s students choose rather than resort to.
He was candid in his criticism of how UH has handled certain difficulties and controversies — affordability, sexual assaults and …