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By Erica Rodd

One of the hopefuls believed to top a short list of candidates to replace Ryerson President Claude Lajeunesse next term has said he will not be pursuing the presidency.

Peter Herrndorf, current president and CEO of the National Arts Centre, dismissed rumours he had been in discussions with the university to succeed Lajeunesse when the position opens.

“I have never spoken to anyone at Ryerson about the presidential search,” Herrndorf wrote in an e-mail. “I can only assume the ‘rumour mill’ has it all wrong.”

Herrndorf’s answer comes at a time when Ryerson’s presidential search committee is bracing for weeks ahead of aggressive interviewing and consideration. This latest development may throw predictions on the search into another direction, as Herrndorf had been previously regarded as someone who might sit at the summit of a short list of potential candidates.

His main attraction, according to some faculty, was his extensive arts background that includes work at the CBC, TVO, and the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Cynthia Ashperger, director of the acting program at the theatre school, said somebody like Herrndorf as president would mean a tremendous amount’ to the school.

“Arts are so important to the learning process, you learn creatively, and someone who understands Arts understands creativity,” she said. David Leighton, Herrndorf’s colleague at the NAC, says he “can’t imagine that [Herrndorf] would want to leave. He could break contract, but he has always received top marks from the board. This is the first I’ve heard of him leaving.”

Another name that has been circulating is Bonnie Patterson, the current president of Trent University.

However, in an official statement issued to the school, Patterson said she is flattered the board would consider her, but has no interest in leaving Trent.

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