Mercy College of Ohio’s president, who has led the school for eight years, will retire June 30.
John Hayward, 76, has been president of the private college since 2005. He said he is stepping down because he feels he has accomplished a significant amount during his tenure, but has short-changed a family that includes nearly 24 grandchildren.
“I look forward to spending more time with them,” Mr. Hayward said.
Plus, he said, he’s “getting old."
Higher education was a second career for Mr. Hayward, who was a long-serving member of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library board of directors and practiced law in the Toledo area for about four decades before he took the helm of Mercy College. He also served in the U.S. Navy.
Under his leadership, enrollment at the school, which focuses on health science careers such as nursing, has grown 63 percent, the school said. There were about 500 students at the school in 2005, while more than 1,100 are enrolled now. Mr. Hayward pointed to Mercy’s expanded program offerings as a key accomplishment of his tenure. Four degrees were offered when Mr. Hayward started — a bachelor's and three associate's degree programs. Now there are more than a dozen.
Based in Toledo’s Uptown neighborhood, Mercy College is affiliated with Mercy and Catholic Health Partners. It has a satellite campus in Youngstown.
Mr. Hayward said he thinks he’s leaving the college in good shape, with the school in the midst of a strategic planning process that is setting a goal of modest growth in coming years. Mercy hopes to reach an enrollment of about 1,500 students in five years and potentially increase its footprint in the Uptown and nearby Old West End neighborhoods, possibly by adding student housing.
The school is also renovating its lab space, a process Mr. Hayward said he wished he had started sooner.
The school has hired a search firm to find a replacement for Mr. Hayward, and the outgoing president said he hopes his successor will be named before he leaves. Ideally, the next president could spend time with Mr. Hayward to smooth the transition period, he said.