John S. Toll, 54, president of the State University of New York at Stoney Brook, is the only one of five candidates nominated for the presidency of the University of Maryland still in contention for the job.
The other four original candidates have asked that their names be withdrawn from consideration.
Toll, who was a member and head of the Maryland physics department for 12 years during the 1950s and 1960s, was understood to have met with the Maryland Board of Regents for five hours on Monday at College Park. But officials said no firm decision was reached on whether to offer him the job.
Toll would not comment yesterday, but his office reaffirmed an earlier statement in which he said "the University of Maryland is one of the great state universities of the country . . . Anyone would be honored to be invited to that institution and especially to be considered as a successor to President Wilson Elkins.
At the same time, Toll went on to say that he was "happy in my present position . . . and am not seeking any other position."
Maryland officials said they have the option of offering the job to Toll or of reopening the search once more and considering other names.
A 26-member search committee, organized last September, culled Toll's and the four other names from an initial pool of about 300 candidates.
Other candidates near the top of the list could be given additional consideration, although Toll, under whose leadership the Maryland physics department became one of the top academic departments on campus, has always been regarded as a strong contender.
A meeting of the board of regents has been set for Monday to consider how to proceed.
The latest candidate to withdraw from consideration was Stanley O. Ikenberry, a senior vice president at Pennsylvania State University.
Initially, Ikenberry had said he was interested in talking about the Maryland job, but later sent a letter to the regents saying he had changed his mind.