COLUMBUS — Dr. Claudia Limbert is retiring as president of the Mississippi University for Women (MUW). While her tenure at MUW was marked by controversy, education leaders, including Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds, says she will leave behind an impressive legacy that includes enrollment growth and a focus on academics and teaching that has caused many to take notice.
Limbert announced Oct. 12 that she plans to retire at the end of June 2010, when her current contract ends.
Making the decision public now gives the Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning ample time to pick a successor, Limbert said.
“We are saddened to say goodbye to Dr. Limbert,” Board president Scott Ross said. “She is a remarkable person and her contributions and service to this institution will never be forgotten.”
The board is expected to accept Dr. Limbert’s retirement request and to discuss the institutional transition during its upcoming board meeting Oct. 15.
A native of the Missouri Ozarks, Limbert is a first-generation college graduate in her family. At the age of 35, after settling down and starting a family, she decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English, history and education from Bethel College in Newton, Kan. She earned her master’s and doctorate in creative writing and English literature, respectively, from Boston University. After earning her degrees, Limbert served in various high-level positions at Penn State University, Dubois, including campus executive officer and director of academic affairs.
Dr. Robert Khayat, former chancellor of the University of Mississippi, said, “Dr. Limbert is a courageous leader and it has been my privilege to work with her,” Dr. Khayat said. “The success of a university president’s tenure is usually measured by the answers to three questions: Is the university stronger? More appealing? Does it have more resources? The answer to all three of these is ‘yes’ because of Dr. Limbert’s efforts.”
“Clearly, Dr. Limbert’s record speaks for itself,” Bounds said. “She is a shining example of an educator we should all seek to emulate because her head and her heart are in exactly the right place. She is in constant contemplation about the futures of her students and the university, and we thank her for her commitment and dedication these past seven years.”
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