Union College President Edward D. de Rosset announced Monday that he will retire 18 months ahead of schedule.
De Rosset has been on a personal leave of absence since August, when his wife, Lou Ann de Rosset, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and endangering the welfare of a minor, her 5-year-old child.
Edward De Rosset, 67, who announced in the spring that he would retire June 30, 2013, is now scheduled to retire Dec. 31, 2011.
Dr. Thomas J. McFarland will remain acting president, an appointment that the board of trustees made in August.
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Joining Union's staff 26 years ago "was among the best decisions of a lifetime," Edward de Rosset wrote in a statement issued campuswide on Monday afternoon.
"These years on the Union campus and in the town have been the run and treasure of a lifetime," he wrote. "This community long ago became my adoptive hometown."
A presidential search began this week. A new president is scheduled to be named this summer, officials said.
De Rosset was named interim president in 2003. In September 2005, he became Union's 17th president.
He joined the school in 1985 as dean of students.
"I had the opportunity to learn from three past presidents and several legacy leaders during my time here, and I'm indebted to each of them," de Rosset wrote.
Union is a private liberal arts college in Barbourville affiliated with the United Methodists.