Chuck Staben

Chuck Staben

MOSCOW - Chuck Staben will not be the 22nd president at the University of New Mexico and instead will remain at the University of Idaho.

During a special meeting of the UNM Board of Regents on Thursday morning, board members selected Garnett S. Stokes, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Missouri, as university president. Stokes is the first woman to serve as president of the university in its 128-year existence.

Staben - one of five finalists for the job - declined to speak to the Lewiston Tribune Thursday.

"It was an opportunity he felt he needed to take for personal reasons," said University of Idaho spokeswoman Jodi Walker. "Now he is focused on doing the work here at the University of Idaho and continuing on as our president here. We have a lot of goals in front of us and he's going to lead us to those goals."

Walker said she didn't know whether Staben has applied for any other positions.

Blake Youde, chief of communications for the Idaho State Board of Education, said Staben's application elsewhere will not affect his credibility with the board.

"Chuck kept the board apprised of his decision and the process to apply," Youde said. "His decision is not detrimental to the University of Idaho in the eyes of the board. I can certainly speak on behalf of the board on this. This doesn't change the board's view or consideration of the University of Idaho."

It's unknown what "personal" aspect of the UNM job appealed to Staben, who stated at the time of his UI hire in 2013 that he was dedicated to the university, intended to stay longer in Moscow and referred to putting down roots.

"His decision to apply for the position is very personal and not due to any shortcoming at the University of Idaho," states a memo distributed to university faculty and staff last month. "President Staben is invested in UI's success and will continue to serve here until such time as he may choose to accept another position."

The UNM position brought with it a five-year contract with an annual salary of $400,000, according to the university's website. Staben, 59, currently has an annual salary of $385,230 at UI.

He is expected to deliver his State of the University address next week.

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Babcock may be contacted at jbabcock@lmtribune.com or at (208) 848-2275.

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