Newly appointed University of Wyoming president Dick McGinity, left, was chosen by UW trustees to replace the controversial Robert Sternberg. (Greg Nickerson/WyoFile)

The Sternbergian Coronation of UW President McGinity; A Quiz

Guest column by Peter Shive
University of Wyoming professor emeritus

— February 13, 2014

Peter Shive

Sunday, February 16, marks the one month anniversary of the coronation of Dick McGinity as President of the University of Wyoming. This is worth commemorating, as the process amounted to an open declaration of war, by the University’s Board of Trustees and its President, on its own Faculty.

On one hand, we can all try to appreciate the certain elements of humor in the situation. Elephants materialize in living rooms; emperors too, only partly clad, in the halls of academe. The whole affair had a sort of sternbergian* overtone to it, which on reflection is not surprising. UW Board of Trustees president Dave Bostrom’s justifications, for example, could have been scripted by Sternberg himself.

In the end, of course, we have to take the matter seriously because of the consequences down the line. I’m particularly interested in the details, wanting to get at the question, “What were they thinking, and why?” I’ll pose my questions below in the form of a short multiple choice exam. Because of the events of last Fall, there are many experienced and savvy Trustee-watchers out there. I expect some extremely high scores.

You have 20 minutes (honor system). Some questions may have more than one correct answer; others may have none — check all appropriate boxes.


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*sternberg –

  1. (v.t.) act capriciously, with justifications that are implausible, inconsistent, insulting and/or self-serving.
  2. (n) individual deemed by Trustee Bostrom to possess ideal qualifications for the Presidency of the University of Wyoming.

— Peter Shive is UW Professor (Emeritus).

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  1. Dick is a Patsy and that not a Cline. It’s all about have a carbon man in the lead. You see I spent 8 years on the Business Council with Dick and he has a one track.