UT leader leaving for fellowship

Interim chief to be picked at special session Monday


University of Toledo President Lloyd Jacobs will step down much sooner than previously announced.

Dr. Jacobs and university officials said Friday that he will leave the position June 30, with an interim president to be named Monday at a special meeting of the UT Board of Trustees.

The announcement was expected, and accelerates the departure of Dr. Jacobs, who was already set to leave before his contract expired. The university’s president since 2006, he and UT jointly announced in March that he would step down effective June 30, 2015, a year before his contract ends.

That Dr. Jacobs would leave this summer had been whispered on campus for weeks. Before Friday, university officials would say only that there was, at the time, no change to the previously announced departure schedule.

Dr. Lloyd Jacobs has been appointed to the Council on Competitiveness in Washington, and his early departure will be called a sabbatical leave.
Dr. Lloyd Jacobs has been appointed to the Council on Competitiveness in Washington, and his early departure will be called a sabbatical leave.

Dr. Jacobs has declined to comment on his leaving, and he would not take questions from reporters Friday. The university framed the news around Dr. Jacobs’‍ appointment to a distinguished fellowship for the Council on Competitiveness in Washington, and said his early departure will be called a sabbatical leave.

“I have enjoyed the last eight years in my current role and 10 years Ola and I have spent in Toledo,” Dr. Jacobs said in a release, referencing his wife, Ola. “I am enthusiastically looking forward to working with the Council on Competitiveness as a Distinguished Fellow during this sabbatical and perhaps beyond.”

Dr. Jacobs’‍ fellowship is honorary and he will receive no compensation, said Deborah Wince-Smith, the council’‍s president and chief executive officer. He’s done work for years with the nonprofit, which is headquartered on K Street in Washington. Other fellows at the council include a former congressman, a former director of NASA, and the former head of the National Science Foundation.

“It’s a prestigious invitation to come and spend time here, and give us the benefit of his advice and wisdom,” Ms. Wince-Smith said.

Dr. Jacobs will work on the topic of competitiveness of higher education for the council.

Dr. Jacobs will return as a professor of surgery in 2015, and likely will have office space at UT and administrative support while on sabbatical, said Larry Burns, the university’s vice president for external affairs. While he will spend some time in Washington, most of Dr. Jacobs’ work would be in Ohio, Ms. Wince-Smith said.

He will be paid by UT while on sabbatical, though his compensation is still being negotiated, said Joseph H. Zerbey IV, board of trustees chairman and The Blade’s president and general manager.

Mr. Zerbey said the board has a candidate in mind to serve as interim president. When asked if the board has asked Dr. Jacobs to leave early, Mr. Zerbey demurred.

“I think that’s stuff I can’t talk about,” he said.

Mr. Burns said that “all indications I have was that it was [Dr. Jacobs’] decision [to leave].”

In March, the university said Dr. Jacobs would lead a yet-unformed Institute of University Transformation when he steps down. That’‍s no longer planned, Mr. Zerbey said, as board members decided they weren’t interested in creating the institute.

A search for Dr. Jacobs’ replacement is already under way, with search firm Witt/​Kieffer of Oak Brook, Ill., leading the effort. The university is naming its new Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center after Dr. Jacobs.

When asked why Dr. Jacobs has so far not commented on his departure, Mr. Burns referenced the departing president’‍s private nature.

“I can’t speak for him, but my guess is he just thinks it is what it is, and at an appropriate time he can talk about it,” he said.

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