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WKU president Gary Ransdell to retire next year

Gary Ransdell has been president of WKU since 1997. Ransdell announced Friday that he plans to step down on June 30.
Gary Ransdell has been president of WKU since 1997. Ransdell announced Friday that he plans to step down on June 30. New York Times

After 20 years, the president of Western Kentucky University is stepping down.

Gary Ransdell announced at an administrative meeting Friday that his last day as president would be June 30, 2017. Ransdell has been president since 1997.

He said in a news release from the university that “20 years on the job is long enough to fulfill the commitment we made in 1997 to lead a transformation of our great university.”

Bob King, president of the Kentucky Council of Postsecondary Education, said in a news release Friday that Ransdell “provided a level of leadership at WKU that has catapulted the university into the front ranks of higher education in the South.”

“His 20 years at the helm has led to an array of improvements in Western’s academic standing, financial stability, relationships with area employers, physical resources, and its overall stature among educators throughout the nation,” King said. “We will miss him dearly.”

Freddie Higdon, chairman of the WKU Board of Regents, said in the news release that the board would “conduct an exhaustive search” to find a replacement. Higdon said Ransdell has had a deep impact on the school.

“I know I speak for the whole board when I say that this is bittersweet,” Higdon said.

Michael McKay: 859-231-1324, @hlpublicsafety

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