Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Dear USD Community,
In recent weeks, I have been reminded of the first lines from the "Rule of Benedict," a collection of 6th century instructions for those following Benedict of Nursia into monastic life: "Listen carefully...with the ear of your heart." In my own efforts to seek wisdom and listen attentively with the ear of my own heart, I have reached an important personal decision, but one that certainly affects our university community. Accordingly, at today’s meeting of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, I announced my intention to conclude my tenure as president at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year. At that time, I will have enjoyed twenty-five years as the president of a college or university, the final twelve leading this phenomenal academic institution.
USD witnessed unprecedented stability for more than a decade, benefitting from the generous and capable dedication of its faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, alumni, and benefactors. Our community's focus on the mission to and for students has yielded enviable results; namely, a superb academic reputation that attracts high achieving students and faculty; the quadrupling of our endowment and subsequent increases in student aid; the expansion of academic programs, including the creation of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies and the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering; the great investment in student life and athletic programs, support, and facilities; above all, the magnificent men and women graduates of this university.
These and additional evidences of USD's health and positive momentum suggest why it is timely for a transition of leadership. Make no mistake; I love this university and the privilege of leading it. At the same time, I recognize how important it is to seek a new leader from a position of strength and optimism. At the conclusion of my presidency, I will have given this university my best and am ready to "pass the baton" to someone poised to lead USD to even greater achievements.
I am notifying you now in order to facilitate the best possible process for transition. On February 21st, the Board of Trustees will initiate the process leading to the appointment of a president.
We have so many challenging opportunities ahead, not least of which is continued progress in our fundraising. I will continue my relentless work on your behalf and hope you will support these efforts.
There will be ample opportunities for me to express my gratitude to all who have supported me over the years. For now, be assured that I "do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers." (Ephesians 1:15).
Mary E. Lyons, PhD
From Ron Fowler, Chairman of the Board of Trustees:
Dr. Lyons has been an exceptional leader of the university, contributing to its steady growth and development for more than a decade, while simultaneously raising its profile and reputation as a stellar, nationally-ranked Catholic university. As the Chair of the USD Board of Trustees, I join my fellow trustees in expressing our sincere appreciation for her leadership and service to advancing the university, to supporting its faculty, staff, and students, and to engaging the greater Torero family of alumni, parents, and friends. We will work diligently in the coming months to support Dr. Lyons and her team to affect a smooth transition, and we look forward to celebrating her legacy of progress at USD as we anticipate the next era of leadership at the university.
Board of Trustees