President Ruscio Announces Decision to Step Down in July 2016
To: The Washington and Lee Community
From: President Kenneth P. Ruscio
Date: May 26, 2015
I have informed the Board of Trustees that I will step down as president on June 30, 2016.
When I returned to my alma mater as president in 2006, I knew we had an ambitious agenda and great aspirations. I had no personal timeline in mind, but a decade now seems about right — enough to have achieved many of our goals, and the right moment for the University to start anticipating new ones.
Kim and I have so many people to thank. We will save those expressions of gratitude for hundreds of individual conversations and other occasions. For the moment, please know how grateful we are to have served alongside such outstanding professionals, wonderful students and dedicated alumni.
During the coming year, we will bring our strategic plan to a close, and we will announce the successful conclusion of our historic $500 million capital campaign, Honor Our Past, Build Our Future, on June 30. The Colonnade renovation and restoration project, which means so much to me, is in its final stages. The Center for Global Learning will open later this year. Our renovated first-year residence halls will be ready for this fall’s entering class, and our new upper-division neighborhood and natatorium will be completed by the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year. We have also completed important renovations in Leyburn Library, are continuing work on Lewis Hall and have established the Duchossois Athletic Complex, which features the reconstruction of Wilson Field.
The Roger Mudd Center for Ethics, the J. Lawrence Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship, the Integrative and Quantitative Center, the revitalized Spring Term, the Johnson Summer Opportunity grants and the Law School's innovative curriculum are now part of our fabric, along with many other academic initiatives undertaken by the faculty. The Shepherd Poverty Program is now fully endowed. The Johnson Scholars Program, our affiliation with QuestBridge and the W&L Promise are cornerstones of remarkable growth in financial aid, ensuring the continued academic excellence of the student body. The Lenfest funds have supported our faculty and their continued professional growth; 20 endowed chairs and 10 term professorships have been established. Our various sustainability efforts, from the Energy Education Program to the solar panel installation, are beginning to have a positive impact.
As important as all those projects have been, they pale alongside the quality of this institution's character. The strength of our community has always been its people — the thousands of alumni who remain dedicated to their alma mater, the creative teacher-scholars on the faculty, the devoted and highly competent staff, the parents and families of the students, and most important, our students. I certainly knew this to be the case before I assumed the presidency, and it is affirmed every day I go to the office. It has been an incredible privilege for Kim and me to be able to work in so many ways with each and every one of you.
I discussed our decision with the board several days ago at its May meeting. I know Rector Don Childress will be in touch about their plans for choosing my successor.
Meantime, we have a typically busy year ahead — celebrating the end of the campaign, setting the stage for the next phase of the University’s future, and fostering the teaching and learning that goes on every day in the classrooms and beyond.
Kim and I extend our deepest thanks for the opportunity to serve you.