Stay the course.
That’s how President Bill Perry plans to spend the rest of his tenure as president of Eastern.
Perry, who announced via email Thursday his intent to step down as president at the end of his contract in June 2015, said that for the rest of his term, he will be making sure different areas are followed through.
One of the bigger areas still in the early stages comes in the form of a $7 million budget cut he ordered earlier this year. Although still in the initial stages, Perry said the recommendations the three subcommittees of the Council on Planning and Budgeting are making would extend through fiscal year 2015, 2016 and 2017.
“Next year, during fiscal ‘15, we’ll have to see how those are starting work, to assess the impact of them, to see what kinds of tweaks we may need to make downstream,” Perry said. “So we will continue working on that.”
Although this cut, still starting out, comes toward the end of Perry’s term, Perry said it is something that any presidential candidate would know.
“Any person who is interested in serving as a president, they know a few things. They know that 60 percent of the university’s in the country did not reach their enrollment goals last year. State support for higher education is uncertain at best,” he said. “They should expect to be serving at a university with both opportunities and challenges.”
Perry, 68, said one of the biggest contributing factors to his decision to leave came down to wanting time for other opportunities, such as travel, family time and to continue pursuing mathematics.
The decision process began when members of the Board of Trustees asked if he would want to extend his contract.
“Last fall the board asked would I be interested in extending my contract, so I thought about it for about five or six months. It’s a long commitment. Took a long time to think about,” he said. “The issue really is time. Serving as president, your time is used up – there’s never enough.”
When he steps down after a term that will have been eight years, Perry is not worried about reaching every one of the goals he originally set. Instead, he said the university is always changing and evolving – as is its nature.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re here as a faculty member, a staff member, a student or an administrator. You’re here for a set period of time,” he said. “And the university is always evolving. There are certainly some things I thought were important to do.”
Among those things include replacing the steam plant and pushing research throughout the university.
“I think the thing to remember is, a university’s goals are community goals. You’re always focused on your mission statement. You always want to improve your academic programs, improve the academic experience, really support the personal relationships that get developed at the university,” Perry said.
Perry began his tenure as president in July 2007, after being at Texas A&M University since 1971, where he was in professorial and administrative roles.
Bob Galuski can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]