Former State University of New York Chancellor D. Bruce Johnstone will return to Buffalo State College in an advisory capacity as the school he once headed seeks a new president.

College President F.C. Richardson, after nearly a year of criticism and counter charges, announced last week that he will step down in January. Three other officers of the college will take leaves until then.

"He (Johnstone) is the single-best person in the entire state to assist in this transition and in this search," said Ross B. Kenzie, chairman of the College Council. "He knows the college better than any other person who could be assigned. I believe his presence will give a great deal of comfort to those concerned about the search."

The College Council and Richardson asked SUNY Chancellor Thomas A. Bartlett to designate Johnstone as senior adviser to the transition process at Buffalo State, Kenzie noted.

Johnstone, who will have a temporary office on the Elmwood Avenue campus, will also serve as liaison with the Chancellor's Office during the search for a successor to Richardson.

"The normal procedure is for SUNY to appoint someone from the Chancellor's Office," Kenzie noted.

"But often, you don't know who -- and get a person who doesn't know the college. We were able to tell the Chancellor, 'We have an expert in Buffalo, Bruce Johnstone.' The Chancellor agreed, and Dr. Johnstone has accepted."

President of Buffalo State from 1979 to 1988, Johnstone is currently a professor in the University at Buffalo's Graduate School of Education. He was out of town Thursday and unavailable to comment.

But the presidential search process, the province of the College Council, is already under way, Kenzie said.

Heidrick & Struggles, the international executive search firm that brought Richardson to Buffalo State, will be hired again to assist the committee, Kenzie said.

Heidrick & Struggles has aided in the placement of more college presidents than any other search firm in the country -- and has, twice, placed presidents at Cornell, Brown, Colgate and Northwestern universities, he added.

A search advisory committee, to be made up of 14 members, will include:

Five department chairmen within the college's three faculties; a senior officer of United University Professions, the College Senate and United Students Government as well as CSEA and Council 82; a representative of the Professional Staff Caucus on campus; a member of management; an outstanding professor and an individual from the campus at large.

"The last search for a new president did not include any union representation -- this one does," Kenzie noted.

The search timetable, which calls for a new president to take office sometime in January of 1996, tentatively includes visits by candidates to the Elmwood Avenue campus in mid-November, with an early December presentation of finalists to the College Council.

If all goes well, the SUNY board of trustees will appoint a new president upon the recommendation of the College Council and Chancellor Thomas A. Bartlett, before the end of the year.

The cost of the search firm would be about $35,000, Kenzie estimated.

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