The University of Montana may have to wait till the first of the year before officially having a new president.

Associate Commissioner of Higher Education Kevin McRae said now that all four finalists have made their campus visits, the Board of Regents and the Presidential Search Committee will review the hundreds of comments received by those who attended the on-campus forums.

The four finalists included Mirta Martin, Andrew Hale Feinstein, Seth Bodnar and Charles Ambrose.

“The Commissioner of Higher Education at the Board of Regents meeting about two weeks ago described the next step,” McRae said. “The search advisory committee members will now digest the campus feedback, along with their own impressions of the four finalists. The next step will be for the committee to recommend a number of names from those four to the commissioner for his to share with the Regents. That number could be anywhere from zero to four. Technically, it could be zero. We have no reason to think it will be, but the public needs to know that the search committee and the Board of Regents will not stop until that search is complete.”

McRae said once a final decision has been made, negotiations will them begin with the chosen candidate.

“The commissioner will discuss the issue with the Board of Regents, and then would proceed towards negotiations with the top candidate,” he said. “We would be on track for the November Board of Regents meeting, if not sooner, for the board to ultimately make a hire.”

McCrea said some movement toward a final decision will come in the next few weeks.