UR President Joel Seligman announced on Jan. 9 that a national search is underway for the new senior vice president of health services and CEO of the UR Medical Center to fill C. McCollister Evarts’s position when his term ends.

“It was a privilege for me to participate in the leadership of the medical center,” Evarts said. His successful term is set to end June 30 but he has agreed to continue in the position until a successor is chosen to ensure a smooth transition.

Under Evarts’ leadership, URMC has grown immensely. “Evarts’ recent three years here have been a triumph,” Seligman said. “He arrived at a difficult time and was a stabilizing force. He recruited and retained a wonderful staff and moved the school forward on many fronts. He brought a sense of positive interaction in the local health care community. He continued the growth that had been going on before. We have improved our National Institute of Health ranking, and faculty recruitment and retention remains high.”

“This was intended as a plan of transition,” Seligman said.

Evarts also helped the URMC to organize a center for disaster medicine and emergency preparedness and moved forward with the purchase of a new research building.

Seligman has recommended that the UR Board of Trustees appoint Evarts as a distinguished university professor. “This recognizes his achievements,” Seligman said. “He will continue to teach and help in the community development. I have never seen Evarts with a quiet moment.” A gala will be held on May 19 to celebrate Evarts, who graduated from the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1957.

A search committee has been formed and is currently in the process of finding someone to fill this void. Among the 14 members of the committee are Provost Charles Phelps, Vice President and General Secretary Paul Burgett.

The committees are following a position description drafted by Seligman that outlines that the person who fills this position is the ultimate integrator between the clinical, educational and research facilities at the URMC.

“While generally the way he has done the job is terrific, one of the things you do every time you go through a search is to go through a process of introspection about the position,” Seligman said.

Evarts is confident in the ability of the search committee. “I have worked hard to create an environment such that this will be an attractive position for someone to assume,” Evarts said.

Others on the committee agree. “The work that Evarts has done makes the position very appealing to national candidates,” Phelps said. “There are a number of people around the country that can do this with wonderful success. [Evarts] stepped up and did a wonderful job. In fact, he came out of retirement and it was a great benefit that he could and would do this.”

The committee is looking for someone to continue the great success Evarts has exhibited. “We are looking for someone who can build on his momentum,” Seligman said. “It may take up to eight months.”

Since Evarts will be assuming a role as distinguished professor, he will be able to assist in the search by interviewing candidates as well as helping them transition and adjust.

Evarts does have a word of advice for new candidates. “The person who takes over this position has to be able earn the respect of the people [he/she] are working with, by being totally honest, by being a decision-maker, by being willing to work hard and by providing vision and leadership for the institution.”

The succession decision is ultimately Seligman’s, who will be presented with advice from each of the four advisory committees on whom they believe makes a strong candidate.

Paret can be reached at


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