University of Toledo President Jacobs to step down next year

3/21/2014
BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER
University of Toledo President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs
University of Toledo President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs

The University of Toledo announced today that President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, who has led the school since its merger with the Medical College of Ohio in 2006, will step down effective June 30, 2015.

Dr. Jacobs’ contract was extended in 2011 to run through June 30, 2016, meaning he will leave about a year before his contract ends. He earns $392,700 annually.

The announcement follows recent closed-door Board of Trustees meetings to discuss personnel matters. University officials gave no reasoning for Dr. Jacobs early departure.

“My time in Toledo has been among the most personally rewarding years of my life, and Ola and I are looking forward to many more at UT and in the community,” Dr, Jacobs said in a statement. “I’m excited by a new opportunity to help UT and other universities adapt to the financial and resource pressures that will grow only more challenging over time.”

Dr. Jacobs will lead a yet unformed Institute of University Transformation when he steps down, the university said.

“Lloyd Jacobs not only led the way to make the merger with MUO a reality, he has led the implementation of the vision behind the merger and in a very literal way transformed this institution into one that is far greater than the sum of the two organizations that came together in 2006 to comprise the new University of Toledo,” Joseph H. Zerbey IV, chairman of the UT Board of Trustees, said in a statement.

A trained vascular surgeon, Dr. Jacobs is a 1965 graduate of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. He received his medical degree in 1969 from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. From 1989 to 1996, he served as chief of staff at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Ann Arbor.

He served as senior associate dean of the University of Michigan Medical School, and chief operating officer of the University of Michigan Health System betwen 1997 and 2003, when he was named president of the Medical College of Ohio in 2003, replacing the late Dr. Frank McCullough.

Dr. Jacobs had a key role in possibly the most significant event in higher education in Toledo in decades: the merger of MCO and the University of Toledo. He announced the possibility of a merger in November, 2005, though discussions about a combined school had been in the works for years.

The merger sailed through the Ohio legislature in a matter of months, and the two schools officially merged on July 1, 2006, with Dr. Jacobs as president. The medical college became the University of Toledo Medical Center. Dr. Jacobs has run the school since.

While Dr. Jacobs successfully shepherded the merger, creating an educational and medical entity that at the time had 23,000 students, a combined 7,000 employees, and a budget of $650 million, tension over the merger remains, as some UT faculty insist the school has been shortchanged by Dr. Jacobs for investments at UTMC.

In recent years, UT has faced financial struggles, in part because of a persistent decline in enrollment. Last year, the university announced cuts of between $14 million and $17 million to academic programs in a bid to close a then projected budget deficit in fiscal year 2014 of more than $30 million. Those cuts included reductions in funding to most colleges, a reduction in the use of adjuncts, and a corresponding teaching load increase for full-time faculty.

Dysfunction within UT's doctoral clinical psychology program would cause the American Psychological Association to place its accreditation on probation, a step that could eventually lead to the loss of accreditation if concerns aren't rectified.

Dr. Jacobs was also central in the decision to place former UT Board of Trustees Chairman Rick Stansley at the head of the University of Toledo Innovation Enterprises. He named him as UTIE board chairman, and also gave Mr. Stansley a $1,200-a-day salary to run UTIE.

UT board members have remained mum about Dr. Jacobs' future in recent months, despite persistent talk that his tenure may be ending. For instance, Mr. Zerbey said on multiple occasions in the past year that discussion had not been held to replace Dr. Jacobs.

In the past two months, UT board members twice met in closed session to “consider the employment of a public employee.” Mr. Zerbey, who is also president and general manager of The Blade, had declined to comment at the time about what board members discussed. Dr. Jacobs was not at either meeting.

When asked after the first meeting if the board discussed UT President Jacobs, Mr. Zerbey would not say.

“I'm not even going there,” he said.

Dr. Jacobs' departure is the second loss to UT's leadership in recent months. Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor of the University of Toledo Medical Center, was named head of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in November.

A national search to replace Dr. Jacobs will be announced soon.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com, or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.