UPDATED: Lu Hardin to Leave UCA on Sept. 16

by Amy Riggin  on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008 4:53 pm  

UCA President Lu Hardin is leaving the university effective Sept. 16.

(Video: Click here to see UCA board of trustee member Rush Harding talk about Hardin's resignation.)

University of Central Arkansas President Lu Hardin said Thursday that he will step down from his position, effective Sept. 16.

In an announcement after an executive session with the UCA Board of Trustees, Hardin cited his health as the primary reason for stepping down, but he also said the university needs to heal after controversy surrounding a deferred compensation payment he worked to receive early.

(Click here to see a copy of Hardin's letter of resignation.)

UCA announced that Tom Courtway, a former state legislator and UCA's general counsel and director of government relations, will serve as interim president. Courtway returned to UCA in 2006 after working as vice president for planning and operations at Hendrix College, a private college also in Conway.

The board of trustees met in executive session that lasted more than an hour to discuss Hardin's future.

On Thursday, Hardin said he "deeply" regretted not handling the compensation situation better and hopes his stepping down will allow the university to heal. But he said the cancer in his right eye, for which he had an operation earlier this month, played the major role in his decision to resign.

Hardin said he made the decision after being advised by his physician Wednesday that he needed to recuperate.

"Hopefully this will allow the University of Central Arkansas to go through a similar and simultaneous healing process, and certainly that weighs into my decision," he said.

Hardin also thanked the trustees for their continued support, despite a rough few months.

"I want to thank this board for offering me the opportunity to remain as president," he said. "Your faith and trust means a great deal to me."

In a press conference following the meeting, Hardin told reporters that "it was a fight" convincing the trustees that stepping down was the right decision for the university. Hardin said board members told him he "had the votes to stay on as president."



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