FAU president resigns

BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX) - FAU has just announced President Mary Jane Saunders has resigned.

Here is the text of the announcement from FAU:

BOCA RATON, FL (FAU) – Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees Chair Anthony K. G. Barbar accepted FAU President Mary Jane Saunders' letter of resignation late yesterday [Tuesday] responding with a letter expressing regret and praising her for her many accomplishments.

"On behalf of the Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees, I regretfully accept your resignation," he said in his letter. "The Board respects your desire to return to the faculty, a decision we know you made in the best interest of the University."

In her resignation letter, President Saunders wrote, "When I accepted the presidency of FAU three years ago, I did so with a vision to expand upon the excellence of this richly diverse and strong institution with a focus on academics and student success. We, as a campus community, have successfully accomplished these goals.

"There is no doubt the recent controversies have been significant and distracting to all members of the University community. The issues and the fiercely negative media coverage have forced me to reassess my position as the President of FAU. I must make choices that are the best for the University, me and my family."

Barbar added that President Saunders showed her dedication through attendance at events on campus and in the community.

"She attended every athletic game, arts performance and FAU-sponsored event that she could," he said. "Few major community events were held without her involvement. Throughout her time as President, she consistently demonstrated a genuine love for the University, its students and the community. She has been fully committed morning, day and night to the betterment of FAU. We thank President Saunders for her service and dedication to the University."

President Saunders' list of accomplishments at FAU is extensive. During her tenure, freshmen applications and enrollment doubled; philanthropic donations significantly increased; the University received a perfect score on the 10-year SACS reaffirmation; the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine was opened; and a number of capital improvements were accomplished, which include the opening of FAU Stadium, as well as new residence halls, classrooms and research facilities.

"The list of accomplishments you made during your three-year tenure is long," Barbar wrote.  "FAU, its students and the region benefited from the strong vision you had for the University's future – a future you have set in motion."

In consultation with Barbar, President Saunders is appointing Dennis Crudele, FAU's senior vice president for finance and administration, as the acting president, effective immediately.  President Saunders will be returning to a faculty position and be assigned a special research project – to assess the feasibility of developing a physician's assistant program at FAU.

Barbar said he expects to have an Interim President in place by fall 2013.  At that time, a search committee for a new president will be formed.