One piece of information gleaned from Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian about the new University of Montana president is that he, or she, will not be from Montana.

Christian said on Thursday that he and members of the presidential search committee interviewed 12 candidates recently, and 'a group' of the finalists will visit the campus in the final two weeks of September.

"Those will be announced and once those individuals come to campus there will be public forums and we intend to have them meet with some small groups like the faculty and student senate, staff, the vice presidents and a variety of different groups on campus," Christian said. "We'll also do a public forum where anyone's welcome to come and listen and provide feedback. Once the finalists have visited campus the committee will meet for the final time and make recommendations to the regents that we either hire or not hire the individuals who came to campus."

Christian said the job description calls for an exceptional leader.

"We're looking for a highly capable, qualified leader who can move the institution forward," he said. "We encouraged applicants from all walks of life, but, obviously were interested in those with experience in higher education. When we met, we vetted the 12 individuals for those qualities. They all spoke highly of Montana and the opportunity that is here."

Christian did say that both male and female candidates are being considered.

"We want them to get to know us and to get to know Missoula, and we want to get to know them, so it's potentially going to be a couple of days that each candidate will be here on campus."

The firm AGB Search has been overseeing the process of advertising the position of president, and once the choice is made, will stay involved for at least a year to ensure a smooth transition.