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RWU President Resigns

July 6, 2010

Roger Williams University President Roy Nirschel has resigned abruptly, stepping down just prior to the 4th of July weekend. A spokesman for the school said he couldn’t comment on the reason for Nirschel’s departure but said it was not widely expected on campus. He later added that the school’s board of trustees had decided it was time for new leadership.

Nirschel has led Roger Williams University, an independent liberal arts institution in Bristol, since 2001. He is credited with improving the school’s endowment and academic reputation and recently embarked on an ambitious effort to reorganize the school into a series of academic centers based on subject areas including teaching and learning, environmental sustainability and leadership. In a brief statement, school officials commended him for leaving the school with a strong faculty and a solid financial footing.

“Transitions at any institution present challenges and opportunity,” said RWU Board Chairman Richard Bready in the written statement. “The Board of Trustees has established a search process and for a new president, and The Office of the Chairman will appoint interim exectutive leadership shortly.”

Nirschel’s tenure as president included controversy in 2007 when then-Board Chair Ralph Papitto resigned amid allegations that he used racist epithets during meetings. Nirschel has not yet spoken publicly about the reasons for his departure.

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