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August 24, 2001

President Lawson L. Swearingen, Jr's. letter to ULS System President Andre Coudrain

Mr. Andre Coudrain, Chairman
University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors
150 Third Street -Third Floor
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70801

Dear Mr. Coudrain:

I am hereby advising the Board that I will resign as President of the University of Louisiana at Monroe effective August 15, 2002. I intend to relinquish my official duties on December 31, 2001, and request that the Board approve my use of earned leave from January 1, 2002, through the date of my resignation as President. In Fall 2002, I will assume my tenured faculty position at ULM.

It is an understatement to say how much I appreciate the opportunity that was given to me in 1991 to serve as President of my alma mater. These ten years have clearly been among the most exciting and challenging ones of my career, and have afforded numerous opportunities for ULM to make significant advancements as an academic institution. I have been extremely honored to serve as part of a team of dedicated professionals who understood the University's potential and worked tirelessly to set and then meet goals that would help reach that higher level of excellence.

It would also be an understatement to say that all of the challenges we faced were expected. Certainly they were not. However, I am gratified by the courage and unwavering devotion to the larger good that has been exhibited by those working with us to move the University forward even when the path was not an easy one. Were I to name the single largest challenge to ULM during these ten years, there is no question that it would be the "no opinion" audit of this past year. However, I am confident that the University - through the tireless efforts of our own Business Affairs professionals together with the unprecedented cooperation among community business leaders, the Legislative Auditor's office, and this Board and its excellent staff - has withstood this experience and is emerging the better for it. We now have many of the professionals and procedures in place that should preclude a reoccurrence of this kind.

The support of this Board, together with that of the several excellent System Presidents with whom I have been privileged to serve, have been key to both ULM's success and to our Administration. Certainly words are inadequate to express my gratitude as well as that of the entire University family. I leave this presidency with well-placed confidence in Dr. Sally Clausen knowing that her tenure as System President will be among the finest in ULS history. I look forward to seeing goals achieved by our System as she unites her vision for the future with the Board's actions.

I am particularly pleased that a number of the goals that were set at the beginning of my tenure have been achieved. Among those, perhaps one of the most important is the one realized just this week when ULM opened its doors for the first time in history as a selective admissions institution. This goal, long held by our academic leadership, marks a true milestone for ULM.

During the coming months as plans are made to name my successor, I pledge to you my support to make the transition a smooth one. I will work cooperatively with the Board and my successor in every way possible so that the important business of this University - educating our students - will continue uninterrupted even as the presidency changes hands.

In closing, I would like to express on behalf of Sharon and myself our sincere thank-you for the many kindnesses shown to us over these ten years. We treasure the friendships that we have made in the higher education community, and particularly value the individuals who have worked with us for the good of not only ULM, but also higher education in Louisiana.

I again want to thank you for the opportunity to serve and for the support that you and the Board have given ULM over the years.


Lawson L. Swearingen, Jr.

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