Ball State President Jo Ann Gora, 66, one of the university’s most prolific presidents announced plans Saturday to retire next summer.
Gora launched the school’s national marketing campaign, “Education Redefined,” helped raise millions for the university and reshaped its landscape.
“This has been a difficult decision,” she said in her email to students and faculty. “It has been a privilege to serve as Ball State’s president, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my 10 years here.”
The university’s Board of Trustees has begun discussing the search for a replacement, the email said.
President Gora and the trustees are unavailable for comment.
Gora was in French Lick, Ind., at a retreat with the Board of Trustees. Trustees had been there since Thursday.
Kyle Pierce, the student member of the Board of Trustees, said her meeting with the board was a celebration of her time at the university and didn’t focus on her plans for the future or replacement.
Pierce said they haven’t made plans for find her replacement, but Hollis Hughes, Board of Trustees president said the Board of Trustees will have the next university leader in place by July.
He said he will be a part of the hiring process, with the rest of the board, but he will miss Gora.
“I wish she could’ve been there for my graduation,” said Pierce, a sophomore political science and prelaw major. “Without her, I probably wouldn’t have gone to Ball State. She’s lead us in such a great direction. I wish she could’ve been there, but it doesn’t always work out that way.”
Most recently, Gora oversaw the university’s reaccreditation efforts and strategic plan.
Gora became the first woman to serve as president of a public university in Indiana when she became the 14th president of Ball State in May 2004.
Gora’s original contract would have expired in August 2009, she then received an extension to stay with the school through June 2012. Her current contract was set to run through the 2016-17 academic year.
For this fiscal year, Gora’s base salary is $446,338, raised from $431,244 the year before. Gora earned $984,647 for 11-12 fiscal year.
According to the Associated Press she has averaged a more than $436,000 salary over the past nine years.
According to a press release, during her tenure at Ball State she oversaw two long-range strategic planning processes and more than $520 million of facilities construction and renovation was undertaken.
“Dr. Gora has taken Ball State far and leaves the university headed in the right direction,” said Hollis Hughes, president of the Board of Trustees. “We are confident that the position will attract a strong group of candidates and that the next president will provide continuity by building on that momentum.”