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.

"The good news is, I am hopeful that...I will be able to get back into the work force in the field of education," he said.

In a faculty meeting held later in the afternoon Thursday, Hardin thanked the faculty for their contributions during his six years as president and again voiced regret.

"I deeply apologize for the mistakes that I made, very uncharacteristic mistakes that I made, in March and April and May," he said.

Prior to the meeting, Harding said in an interview with ArkansasBusiness.com that he personally believed Hardin made the right decision.

"I'm saddened by the president's resignation but I'm also happy because this will allow some resolution to finally come to this situation," Harding said. "I was in support of what was best for the University of Central Arkansas and in spite of my admiration and friendship for Lu, I felt that the situation had deteriorated so significantly that what was best for UCA was for the president to resign."

He said he hoped UCA could find a permanent replacement for Hardin by June 30.

Hardin's future at the university became uncertain after controversy surrounding a $300,000 bonus he received after urging a secret vote by the board.

Hardin faced criticism from faculty at the campus who were angry to learn that Hardin informed the board that compensation he would receive under a deferred compensation package did not have to be voted on in public. Hardin put that information in a memo bearing the typed names of three UCA vice presidents, who subsequently said they didn't participate in writing it.

Hardin is a former director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. The Republican former state senator became UCA's president in September 2002. Since then, the campus has grown, with enrollment steadily increasing as Hardin heavily marketed the university.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)



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