Richmond, Ky (WKYT) – Dr. Doug Whitlock announced Wednesday he will step down as Eastern Kentucky University's president, effective July 31, 2013.
Whitlock, who has served since 2007 as EKU’s 11th president, announced his retirement at the university’s annual Fall Convocation. “At my first one of these in August 2007, I professed my love for this remarkable place,” he told the university’s faculty and staff. “Today, in my last, I am here to tell you I still love Eastern Kentucky University, and as I said in 2007, if I have helped more of you love her, too, I will be happy.”
Whitlock’s retirement comes a year before his contract was to expire in July 2014. "This gives the Board essentially a year to conduct a search to identify my successor,” Whitlock said.
Gary Abney, chair of the EKU Board of Regents, said in a statement: “I invite the entire Eastern community in addition to our other constituents to join me and the entire EKU Board of Regents in thanking President Whitlock for his leadership and accomplishments as Eastern’s president, as well as for his considerable service to the university over the years. We all extend our deepest gratitude to Doug and (wife) Joanne and wish them the best in the coming years.”
Abney said the Board’s search process to find Whitlock’s successor will “take into consideration the interests of Eastern’s faculty, staff, students, alumni, supporters, the community and region we serve. The Board of Regents will select the best person to lead Eastern going forward.”
The Board, Abney added, will send out a request for proposals to retain a search firm “to assist us as we move through the search and selection process. All constituents of the university, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, the EKU Foundation, the external community, and the Board of Regents will have input in the EKU presidential search process.”
In his convocation remarks, Whitlock cited several reasons for his decision. He says the “march of time" was a factor, citing the fact his retirement will come 12 days before he turns 70. He also says he wants to spent more time with his family, and he says the university needs to make a change before a pending capital campaign gets underway. Dr. Whitlock also cited the start of the next biennial budget session in the Kentucky General Assembly in January 2014. “My successor will have the opportunity to participate with the Council on Post-secondary Education in development of the biennial budget request and be fully engaged with the legislative session.”