The University of Utah Presidential Search Committee has identified the names of 29 top candidates from a list of 240 applicants and nominees.

But Utah Commissioner of Higher Education Wm. Rolfe Kerr expects that another 10 possibilities will be added to the top candidate pool in the next few weeks.The search committee has gathered the 240 applicants and nominees since it began its work in late 1990. The committee, chaired by regent Ian Cumming, is looking for a replacement to U. President Chase N. Peterson, who will leave office July 1.

The state Board of Regents hopes to appoint the new U. president by that date. The board will interview and then select the new U. president from approximately five finalists recommended by the search committee. The committee will recommend the finalists after interviewing 10 to 15 semifinalists.

For the first time in presidential searches, higher education officials have relied on the work of a national search firm, Heidrick and Struggles, which identified 132 of the 240 candidates. Many of the firm's nominees, however, ultimately may decide not to pursue the U. presidency. The regents asked the search firm to identify top potential candidates and then work aggressively to persuade them to consider the post.