President Robert Henry will be on a leave of absence until October to have surgery.
Henry had open heart surgery three years go to repair a mitral valve prolapse. The surgery went well but “follow-up action is required to ensure optimal ongoing health,” Henry wrote in an Aug. 3 email sent to the campus community.
“The world’s best are at Cleveland Clinic, so that’s where I’m going,” Henry said.
Henry’s leave of absence begins today. While he’s away, Provost Kent Buchanan will serve as acting president.
“You are in very good hands with Kent, who has the full support of the executive committee of the board of trustees in his operation of the university,” Henry wrote in the email.”I look forward to returning full-time in October, as there is much to accomplish this academic year.”
This follows Henry’s announcement to step down as president after June 2018 to focus on health.
President Henry said he will miss being at the university and looks forward to returning.
“I particularly hate to miss matriculation convocation because it’s my favorite service we have here on campus, where I get to meet parents, grandparents and incoming freshmen,” he said.
Art LeFrancois, professor of law, will be giving the matriculation address in place of Henry.
Henry also said he will miss being able to see students.
“I think my absence will not be noted much except that I won’t be badgering students in the caf at the beginning of school,” Henry said.
Some students said they will miss Henry’s presence on campus.
“I think that it’s a good thing that he is taking care of his health,” said Emily Diaz, acting senior. “But I do think it will have an impact on the freshmen not being able to see his face around.”
Henry said he’s confident in Buchanan’s ability to lead while he’s away.
According to the faculty handbook, the provost serves as the second-ranking officer and assumes command in the president’s absence.
“President Henry has known for several months that he would be having surgery this summer,” Buchanan said. “So I have known for a few months that I would be assuming the acting president role along with being provost and [vice president for academic affairs].”
Henry said he appreciates students reaching out to him.
“I greatly appreciate the prayers and thoughts that have been coming my way in significant numbers,” Henry said.