Jan 20, 2014 The Associated Press

Mead supportive of UW prez pick

LARAMIE -- Gov. Matt Mead said he has confidence in new University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity and doesn't intend to focus on controversy over how he was hired.

Addressing the Wyoming Press Association in Laramie on Friday, Mead said he has known McGinity since they served together on the Wyoming Business Council.

"I think he is a stellar guy. I think he is going to provide great leadership at the University of Wyoming. He is humble, he is smart," Mead said. "He is going to provide great direction to UW."

The UW Board of Trustees hired McGinity Thursday on a 9-3 vote without going through a formal search process and without following the board's own policy of consulting with faculty.

McGinity had been serving as interim president since Dec. 6 after former President Bob Sternberg resigned Nov. 14 less than five months into the job.

Speaking immediately after the trustees' vote on Thursday, Faculty Senate Chair Colin Keeney said he didn't think the board's decision would sit well with faculty. He emphasized that the trustees' own policy requires faculty and staff to be part of the process of hiring a president.

"That solves the open vs. confidential debate. Right?" Keeney said. "Don't hold a search. Just hire a president."

Mead acknowledged there are questions about the process of hiring McGinity. But while the vote to hire him wasn't unanimous, Mead said the trustees are now unanimous in their support.

Teachers win presidential awards

SHERIDAN -- Two teachers from Wyoming are being honored by the White House.

Laurie Graves of Big Horn and Kathleen Kniss of Laramie were named winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching last month.

They'll head to Washington, D.C. later this year to receive their $10,000 awards from the National Science Foundation. No date has been set yet. They are among 102 math and science teachers selected by a panel of scientists, mathematicians and teachers.

Graves, Wyoming's 2011 teacher of the year, was nominated for the award by University of Wyoming professor Scott Shaw.

U.S. rig count up 23; Wyo loses one

HOUSTON -- Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by 23 this week to 1,777.

The Houston firm said in its weekly report Friday that 1,408 rigs were exploring for oil and 365 for gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,749 active rigs.

Texas gained 16 rigs, Oklahoma rose by three and Colorado two. Alaska, Arkansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah were up one each. New Mexico was down by four and Kansas and Wyoming declined by one apiece.

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