UR President Thomas Jackson announced his intention to resign as president, effective June 30, 2005, on March 5. The announcement is not unexpected as Jackson will be serving his 11th year as UR president next year. His predecessor, Dennis O’Brien, served for 10 years.”I do what feels right, and it felt like the right time,” Jackson said. “I was very forceful to view jobs [such as his current one] as having a 10 year horizon.” He added that although this horizon was not a rigid rule, he continues to believe constant change puts UR in a healthy position.Jackson noted two major accomplishments throughout his presidency. “The undergraduate education is much more serious,” he said. “It needed a lot of focus.” Jackson believes his replacement will have to focus on maintaining this level of academia, rather than building it as he did throughout his presidency. Jackson also recognized the visible impact he had on the medical center. “The medical center had been coasting on its reputation. The funding was stagnant,” Jackson noted. “[My administration] reinvested in a terrific educational program. It is not a given that my successor will have to focus on or figure that out.” Jackson also saw personal highlights throughout his presidency that may not be as visible to students and the campus community in general. “You [the president] pick academic leaders such as Tom LeBlanc, Bill Green, and Kevin Parker. It tends to be invisible,” Jackson said. “It is the way in which you have the most influence.” Jackson also views his approval of the recommendation to merge the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Applied Engineering with a degree of pride. “That itself provided an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do with two deans and two colleges,” he said. “There was much less friction. It was the most significant but relatively invisible feature [of his presidency].” Jackson will leave UR in June 2005 for a year-long sabbatical. “It will be grounded around the reality that it will be my younger son’s senior year in high school,” he said. He sees three components to his sabbatical. “Recharge the batteries. Reconnect with family and hobbies such as photography. Re-immerse self in academic disciplines.”Jackson sees the choice to remain in Rochester an obvious one. “[When my family came to Rochester] my wife looked at me and said, ‘this is the best place to live,'” he said. Jackson sees Rochester as friendly and accessible, with lots to do. “I’ve been here longer than any place else,” he said. “It feels like home.”After the completion of the sabbatical, Jackson will return to UR as professor, a position he currently holds in addition to president. “I came as president but as an academic first,” Jackson said. “I’ve nurtured this place and have lots of attachment [to UR].” As a professor, Jackson will work under the title of Distinguished University Professorship. “The occupants [for this professorship] will be in 10-year terms. It’s an opportunity to teach institution wide,” he said. “The majority of my teaching will be undergraduate,” He added. Jackson sees several objectives his successor will have to take care of. “[UR] is thin on endowment resources,” Jackson said. “It is imperative to deal with alumni and build on strengths.” The search for Jackson’s successor will consider and assess candidates from throughout the nation. “There are some plausible internal candidates, but it has only once occurred [that a UR president was selected from the UR community],” Jackson noted. The announcement of Jackson’s successor is expected anywhere between November 2004 to early February of 2005.Tanner can be reached at rtanner@campustimes.org.



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