12-year term ends; Mroz named MTUs
By RYAN OLSON
The Daily Mining Gazette
March 27, 2004
HOUGHTON The Michigan Tech University Board
of Control fired President Curt Tompkins Friday, ending his 12-year
term as MTUs eighth president.
The board, meeting in Chicago, unanimously terminated
Tompkins contract, effective immediately. Glenn Mroz, dean
of the forestry and technology schools, was named interim president.
Chairman David Brule said the boards action
was driven by Tompkins March 16 request to begin a leadership
transition. The board discussed the matter behind closed doors for
nearly three hours before voting in open session.
Brule said the board decided after considerable deliberation
that it was in the best interests of all parties to move ahead
Tompkins said Brule told him a week and half ago to,
based on circumstances, start the transition process. Tompkins previously
indicated to the board that he would step aside when members asked
The Board of Control leadership indicated to
me that they felt it was time to start the process, Tompkins
said by telephone.
In recent months, Tompkins came under fire. He lost
a faculty and staff no-confidence vote in December and his administration
was criticized for its handling of Techs ongoing financial
woes including a $9 million general fund deficit, $6.2 million tuition
miscalculation announced in December and unpopular budget cuts to
account for state funding cutbacks.
Tompkins said he always have and always will
work for Techs best interests.
The boards action Friday to fire Tompkins caught
him off guard because he wanted to help the transition to the interim
president and oversee the budget process for the next fiscal year,
which begins July 1.
I didnt expect it would be quite this
soon, because I had indicated that I would be willing to work through
the end of June, he said.
However, Tompkins said the point was raised that the
interim president could serve for more than a year and should lead
the budget process.
Tompkins said he wished he had time to finish receiving
the major gifts for Techs next capital fund-raising campaign
and to balance next years budget.
I think we could have basically removed the
negative balance in the general fund, he said.
But Tompkins said he feels good about the transition
primarily because Mroz will temporarily take over.
Its going to work well, Tompkins
said. I take great comfort in the fact that Glenn is effectively
the president of the university.
Brule said the board recognizes the need to keep the
We recognize that things need to happen on campus
so we wanted to put someone in place quickly, he said.
Tompkins current contract would have continued
through 2007 with an annual salary of $210,000. After terminating
Tompkins contract, the board recognized his accomplishments
in a resolution and afforded him president emeritus status.
With the boards decision, Tompkins said he finds
himself with an opportunity to consider his options.
At this moment, I would say all the options
are open, he said. I dont think Ive ever
been in this position before.
Tompkins immediate plans include serving as
chief development officer for the Pine Mountain Music Festival where
his wife Kathy serves as executive director.
It should be fun, he said. Well
drive each other crazy, probably.
One of Tompkins fondest memories from his 12
years at Tech is being inducted as an honorary member of the MTU
Pep Bands trombone section. He joined the trombone section
which played on the ice at Winter Carnival in February 2003.
I actually got to play the Hokey Pokey on the
ice before 5,000 people hoping that I would fall ... he said
The board Friday started the process of searching
for a new leader. Board Secretary Dale Tahtinen, Techs vice
president for governmental relations, said the board will move quickly,
but noted searches take time, often up to a year or
Board members Rodger Kershner, Katherine Clark, Norman
Rautiola and Claude Verbal were named to a committee which will
develop a search committee.
A committee to recommend a search company includes
Ruth Reck, David Brule and Mike Henricksen.
Board members were expected to discuss the transition
at their May 7 board meeting.
In the meantime, Mroz will lead the campus. Brule
said the board has confidence in his leadership during the transition.
Glenn is going to hit the ground running from
a planning perspective, Brule said, noting Mroz was chosen
from a list of candidates based on his qualifications and plans
for leading Tech in the next year.
Brule declined to identify other candidates under
consideration for interim president.
Reck said some may wonder why Provost Kent Wray, also senior vice
president, wasnt picked to run the university temporarily.
She said the board needed his steady leadership as provost.
He holds the university together in my viewpoint,
During the transition period, Mroz said its
important to help attract qualified presidential candidates and
listen to the campus community.
Clearly my challenge at this point is to bring
people together ... Mroz said.