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2009 News Releases

Longwood president and rector announce plans for presidential transition period

March 6, 2009

Longwood president announces plans for presidential transition period Longwood University President Patricia Cormier officially announced March 5, 2009 that she is retiring June 30, 2010.

Longwood University President Patricia Cormier officially announced March 5, 2009 that she is retiring June 30, 2010. A new president is expected to be selected by the spring semester of 2010.

"While this is a formal announcement of my impending retirement, it really is just a reiteration of an announcement made two years ago, when the Board of Visitors extended my contract," Dr. Cormier said in a campus-wide ceremony in Lankford Ballroom on March 5, the 170th anniversary of Longwood's founding. "This is my 13th year as your president, and the time is coming for Raymond and me to move on and do something else with our lives."

At the Board meeting March 27-28, members of the Presidential Search and Screening Advisory Committee will be announced, Marge Connelly, rector of the Board, said at the ceremony. The committee will be composed of Board members and representatives from the faculty, staff, students, alumni and Foundation Board.

"A national search will be conducted and a search firm will be hired to assist in the process," Connelly said. "Input will be solicited from the campus community as well as the community at large on the desired attributes of the next president. I shall keep you informed as the process continues."

Connelly, who was accompanied at the ceremony by six fellow members of the Board, vowed that Dr. Cormier "will not miss a beat" while the Presidential Search and Screening Advisory Committee conducts its work. "She will continue her outstanding leadership of this university just as she has for the past 13 years. And even after her official retirement in June 2010, Dr. Cormier has agreed to continue working with University Advancement to reach the goals of the comprehensive campaign. It is true - her blood runs Longwood Blue!"

Dr. Cormier promised to be a "very active president" over the next 16 months. "Though I profess an affinity for ducks, I do not want to hear the term 'lame duck.' So strike that from your vocabulary - I have plenty of work to do before I am done." Her "to-do list," she added, includes weathering the state budget crisis, lobbying state legislators on Longwood's behalf, completing the capital construction projects that are underway, continuing the comprehensive campaign (currently in its "silent phase," which she plans to complete after stepping down and becoming part-time), funding and implementing the new nursing program (which begins in fall 2009), securing conference affiliation in athletics, re-accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (due in 2013), and the presidential transition.

Longwood rector announces plans for presidential transition period
Marge Connelly, who joined the Board of Visitors in 2004 and became rector in 2007, said it has been "an honor and a privilege" to work with Dr. Cormier.
While giving her remarks, Dr. Cormier was flanked by her husband, Dr. Raymond Cormier, the university's "First Gent," a medieval literature scholar who has been a visiting professor of French at Longwood. "Raymond and I have purchased a home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and we shall be moving there for the next phase of our lives," she said. "But remember, we will always be Lancers and will not be rooting for the Tar Heels! Besides assisting University Advancement, I hope to be a volunteer in the K-12 school system in Chapel Hill. I also hope to be a docent for the North Carolina Museum of Arts as art has always been close to my heart. And I think I have been trained well by Johnson Bowles (Longwood Center for the Visual Arts director) and the LCVA staff. Raymond, of course, will continue his active research and publication agenda."

She added that "the most important reason why Raymond and I are moving on" is to spend more time with their grandson, Levi Joseph, and his parents, who live in Florida. "Raymond and I will be happy to pursue the role of doting grandparents - it's not just a job; it's an adventure!"

Marge Connelly, who joined the Board of Visitors in 2004 and became rector in 2007, said it has been "an honor and a privilege" to work with Dr. Cormier. "I have observed, in both challenging and joyous times, her dedication and commitment to this university. From the halls of the General Assembly to boardrooms and classrooms, she is not only a tireless leader; she is also Longwood's number one cheerleader...Longwood continues to become stronger and more vibrant and to build its well-deserved reputation for preparing citizen leaders to make a difference in the world...On behalf of the Board of Visitors, I offer sincere appreciation to Dr. Cormier for her vision, leadership, and persistent drive for excellence. The Cormier Legacy will take Longwood far into the future."

Dr. Patricia Picard Cormier became president of Longwood in August 1996 after serving as vice president of academic affairs at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. She also has held positions in academic administration at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, Wilson College (also in Pennsylvania), the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Virginia, and Tufts University in Boston.

Listen to the speeches by the president and rector

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