Spring Hill College announced on Jan. 21, that President E. Joseph Lee, Ph.D., will retire from the College in December of this year.
Lee was invited to serve as interim president in August 2018, making him the second layperson to serve in the role. He was fully installed as the College’s 38th President on Feb. 7, 2020. During his tenure, the College outlined new strategic priorities, added new academic programs, strengthened its donor base and further engaged alumni and the local Mobile community.
“This decision has not been an easy one, as Spring Hill has been such an important part of my life during the last three and a half years,” Lee said. “The students, faculty, staff, and the entire SHC community are absolutely the best! Now is a good time as the College is positioned for future growth and prosperity. It is with that in mind that I feel now is the time to prepare for new leadership.”
Some of the accomplishments under Lee’s tenure include: reducing tuition by nearly 50 percent and successfully navigating the COVID-19 pandemic by transitioning classes to online learning.
Jack McKinney, Chairman of Spring Hill College’s Board of Trustees noted, “Dr. Lee’s leadership has been instrumental in sustaining Spring Hill College during this unprecedented pandemic environment, strengthening our existing curriculum, initiating a robust academic expansion that enhances the College’s value to our students and promoting the Jesuit identity of ‘cura personalis’ – care and respect for the entire human development. We will miss Joe, but also look forward to perpetuating his vision for Spring Hill as we carry out the selection process for our next president.”
The College’s Board of Trustees will begin a national search for the next president. When the search is complete, there will be a thorough plan in place to ensure a seamless transition.
According to the American Council on Education’s American College President Study, transition planning is an ongoing process, beginning long before the current president leaves the institution. It can be challenging to think about new leadership when your current leader is performing well. A comprehensive transition plan should be standard policy to mitigate risk and reduce reactionary decision making.
Vice President for Enrollment, Nathan Copeland said, “Having served at another institution during a presidential change I know to some extent what Spring Hill College is about to go through. The one thing that will make Spring Hill stand out from many other colleges is our community. Though this can be seen as an odd transitional time, Dr. Lee didn't go anywhere and he is still very much leading our campus and will do so until the board finds the next leader of Spring Hill. The board will now move forward with what is, in my opinion, the most important decision any board can make. Dr. Lee has been doing a beautiful job of organizing the administration in a way that allows the campus to function at the highest level, especially as we gear up for a presidential search. ”
To learn more about President E. Joseph Lee’s background go to https://www.shc.edu/about-spring-hill-jesuit-college/spring-hill-college-administration/presidents-office/.