H. Patrick Swygert, who announced his retirement as Howard University president in the wake of criticism from the Faculty Senate, has pledged to work with the Board of Trustees and the community to ensure a smooth transition to his successor. His retirement is effective June 30, 2008.
Swygert told the Howard commumity he had put the school in a sound direction and felt it was time to think about the next phase of his life. He wanted to announce his decision now, he said, to give a proper farewell to the senior class, graduating May 12.
"We just finished a great capital campaign. What better time?,'" said Swygert who has held Howard's top position for 12 years.
Swygert initiated and completed a list of projects to better the university, the Howard community and the surrounding Washington community. When he took the position in 1995, he became the university's fourth president in six years. Since then, Swygert has overseen the completion of two computer labs, the I-Lab and the Commuter I-Lab, construction of the Louis Stokes Health Library and the Howard University Law Library was completed under his administration as well.
This March, the Campaign for Howard, a $250 million fundraising campaign for the university, was completed 10 months ahead of schedule.
The university has phased through two strategic plans, called Strategic Frameworks for Action, and in his letter, Swygert said that he intends to continue with Strategic Framework for Action III during his final academic year at Howard.
"I think he's made his impact on the university and he really has the university's best interests at heart. I think that's why he's going to work on the Strategic Framework for Action III, because the other two have been really successful," said Marcus Ware, incoming 2007-08 Howard University Student Association president.
Swygert's memo to the Howard community mentions other accomplishments, including the addition of 142 tenure-track faculty members, an A+ credit score rating by Standard & Poor's and an Intel Corp. ranking of Howard as among the top 24 wireless universities in the country.
Swygert spearheaded community improvement and development.
"We can join as well in celebration of the LeDroit Park Initiative, now a nationally recognized model for university- community neighborhood revitalization efforts," Swygert wrote. The initiative, created in 1996, seeks to improve the surrounding neighborhood.