News: The end of a presidency
Curt Tompkins, the longtime president of Michigan Technological
University, announced his decision to leave the school in March
2004. However, the governing Board of Control decided later that
month in a special meeting in Chicago to immediately terminate his
I was in Houghton reporting on the board meeting via
teleconference. After three hours of meeting behind closed doors
-- both virtual and real -- the board announced its decision. The
midday decision was a surprise to the newspaper staff, many people
on campus and myself.
After the meeting, I returned to the office to write
for the Saturday morning edition. Although I was nine hours away
by car from Chicago, I was able to interview board members and President
Tompkins by telephone.
Earlier, when Tompkins announced his decision to leave
the university, he declined to elaborate on the reasons behind his
departure. In my interview, Tompkins reveals the reason -- he was
asked to by board chairman David Brule.
With key interviews in place, I put together an initial
version of the story. I posted an initial version of the main story
on the Gazette Web site shortly before the evening TV newscast.
I went out to the campus to gather more response to the decision
speaking with students and faculty.
In the Saturday, March 27 edition of The Gazette,
I wrote three comprehensive articles about the board's decision:
Legacy includes new programs, facilities
MTU students, faculty react to firing
After the initial coverage, I wrote a follow-up story
looking at President Tompkins' severance
package, which remained intact because the board's termination
of the president's contract.
Comments? ryan -at- rtomedia.com.