ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Saint Louis University President Father Lawrence Biondi has announced the day he will leave the university he has led for a quarter-century.
In a letter to faculty and staff, Chairman of the SLU Board of Trustees Joe Adorjan announced that Biondi will retire on September 1. At that point he will be named President Emeritus and will take a one-year sabbatical from the school.
During the sabbatical, Adorjan says Biondi “will continue his activities in building national and international support for Saint Louis University, but will have no day-to-day responsibilities for leadership of the University.”
Bill Kauffman, currently the university’s vice president, will be Biondi’s interim replacement.
According to the letter, the decision for Biondi to step down September 1 was made in the past few weeks. Biondi announced his imminent retirement on May 4 at a gala to honor his 25th anniversary as the school’s president.
“I have the greatest respect and admiration for Father Biondi and for all that he has done for SLU, and I am hopeful that, as we soon begin the search for his successor, he can continue to provide his knowledge and insight to the Board [of Trustees],” Adorjan wrote. “We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Father for giving so much of himself to make SLU the outstanding and respected institution it is.”
Biondi had faced a rash of criticism from both students and faculty amid several “no confidence” votes. The most public of these incidences came last August when SLU Law Dean Annette Clark wrote a scathing letter of resignation to Biondi and Vice President Dr. Manoj Patankar.
Clark’s replacement, Belleville attorney Thomas Keefe Jr., a 1978 alum of the law school and long-time supporter of the department, resigned in March of this year.
The search for a new SLU president will begin after a Board of Trustees meeting on September 28.
“I am confident that we will find the best possible person to be the next president of SLU, and I want that process to be as inclusive as possible,” Adorjan said.