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As November approaches, a number of potential candidates have voluntarily opted out of Penn's presidential search.

Following Carnegie Mellon University President Jared Cohon's statement that he had rejected Penn's overtures when contacted, two other top academics identified by Philadelphia Magazine as potential Penn presidents have made it known that they are not interested in filling Rodin's seat.

Moving down the list, of the other four potential candidates named in that issue -- current Penn Provost Robert Barchi, Reed College President Colin Diver, Dean of the Radcliffe Institute Drew Faust and Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Nancy Cantor -- all but one are publicly out of the running.

Spokespeople for Reed College and the University of Illinois shot down rumors that their leaders may be considering relocating to Philadelphia.

Wendy Shattuck, spokeswoman for Reed, said that Diver is simply not a candidate.

Sources in Diver's office confirmed that the former dean of Penn's Law School has assured his co-workers that he is not interested in being the next Rodin.

Spokeswoman for the University of Illinois Robin Kaler said that, though currently on the road and unavailable for comment, Cantor has "clarified with us" that "she's not a candidate."

"She said she's not interested in the job," Kaler said.

Kaler also noted that, to her knowledge, Cantor has not been approached by Penn.

Faust, another contender on Philadelphia Magazine's shortlist, was unavailable for comment last night. Radcliffe officials would not comment on whether or not Faust has been approached for or would consider the Penn presidency.

John Isaacson, president of the Boston-based executive placement firm Isaacson Miller Associates, which has been retained by Penn to assist in the search, also declined to comment on Cohon's announcement or on any aspect of the search.

Cohon, as the only Penn alumnus other than Rodin currently serving as president of a major university, was rumored to be the odds-on favorite until he publicly confirmed that he has declined to be interviewed for the University's top job.

A graduate of Penn's undergraduate engineering program, Cohon was appointed president of CMU in 1997 after serving as dean of Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Meanwhile, Barchi -- who was also identified by Philadelphia Magazine -- has consistently insisted that he already has the "best job in higher education," and has no intention of doing anything but what he's doing, despite rumors that he is the second-most attractive candidate on Penn's shortlist, trailing only the now-irrelevant Cohon.

Penn's search is being conducted as Duke and Rice universities -- who will potentially be targeting many of the same candidates as Penn -- pursue their own presidential searches.

Chairman of the University Board of Trustees and search committee head James Riepe said earlier this year that the presidential search committee is aiming to submit its final recommendations to the Executive Committee of the Board -- which will make the final decision -- by early 2004.

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