The University of Toledo board of trustees on Monday appointed the dean of the college of engineering as interim president to replace outgoing President Lloyd Jacobs.
Nagi Naganathan, 58, has been at UT since 1986, first as a professor and later as chairman of the department of mechanical, industrial, and manufacturing engineering. He was named interim dean of the college in 2000, and was permanently appointed to the position in 2003.
Board members unanimously approved his appointment. Terms of his contract as interim president must still be negotiated, according to the university.
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He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Madras in India, a master’s degree from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., and a doctorate from Oklahoma State University. All three degrees are in mechanical engineering.
■ Name: Nagi Naganathan
■ Age: 58
■ Born: Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu state, India.
■ Came to the United States in 1979, joined UT in 1986. Served as professor, chair of the department of mechanical, industrial, and manufacturing engineering. Named interim dean of the college of engineering in 2000. Permanently appointed to position in 2003.
■ Bachelor’s from University of Madras in India, master’s from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., and doctorate from Oklahoma State University. Degrees are in mechanical engineering.
■ Married with a daughter.
“As interim president, I will do my very best to make sure that our university remains committed to excellence in academics, research, patient care, and community engagement through a synergistic engagement of our expertise in all of our campuses,” Mr. Naganathan said in a statement released by UT.
Joseph H. Zerbey IV, board of trustees chairman and The Blade’s president and general manager, said Mr. Naganathan will not be simply a placeholder.
“He will keep moving us forward and upward, and we are happy to be working with him,” Mr. Zerbey said.
The university announced on Friday that Dr. Jacobs would leave his position on June 30, after previously announcing in March that he would step down effective June 30, 2015, a year before his contract ends.
Dr. Jacobs has declined to comment about leaving the position, and was conspicuously absent from Monday’s meeting.
“Dr. Naganathan has been and continues to be a great institutional leader,” Dr. Jacobs said in a written statement on Monday night.
The university announced last week Dr. Jacobs would leave to accept an appointment to a distinguished fellowship for the Council on Competitiveness in Washington.
University officials said his early departure will be called a sabbatical leave.
UT board members also approved an amended contract on Monday with Dr. Jacobs.
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. A search for Dr. Jacobs’ permanent replacement is already under way, with search firm Witt/Kieffer of Oak Brook, Ill., leading the effort.
Mr. Naganathan likely will serve as interim president for six to nine months while the university searches for a permanent replacement.
The interim president said he would consider applying for the permanent position, but hadn’t made a decision.
“It is an option,” Mr. Naganathan said, “but it is too premature to think about.”
As interim president, Mr. Naganathan will be charged with leading a university that has experienced shrinking enrollment, reduced state funding, and the drama of an at-times controversial presidency under Dr. Jacobs, which ended abruptly, and with mystery.
UT also will be without a provost on July 1, when Scott Scarborough takes over as president of the University of Akron.
Mr. Naganathan said he planned to have a candidate forwarded to the board of trustees in a matter of days.
Vice Provost John Barrett has been mentioned on campus as a likely interim replacement, and Mr. Naganathan said that Mr. Barrett is a candidate for the position.