Weiss announces resignation from Laf
By Brett Billings '12
Published: Friday, May 4, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 4, 2012 16:05
In a surprise statement, President Daniel H. Weiss notified the college community Tuesday that he will leave Lafayette after this year to fill the presidency at Haverford College in Haverford, Penn. He will remain on campus for the year-long transition “to support and facilitate a seamless transition in leadership,” he told The Lafayette.
Weiss gave little explanation for the decision to leave College Hill for a lower-paying job at a smaller school except to say, “I believe that the time is right for Lafayette to transition to new leadership to continue the great progress we have made,” in his statement to the college community.
The Strategic Plan, approved in 2007, has guided Weiss’s time at Lafayette. He led the college through a national recession while increasing faculty hiring. International affairs and the arts have received increased attention and resources under his tenure.
Most recently, Patriot League football scholarships have been endorsed, and Lafayette’s Greek system has been put under review. But Haverford has neither D-I sports nor Greek life.
Weiss’s commitment to the liberal arts model of higher education is well known. He and Rebecca Chopp sponsored The Future of the Liberal Arts Conference in America conference at Lafayette early last month. Chopp made a similar move in 2009 when she left the presidency at Colgate for Swarthmore.
“I believe that what Haverford has and what Haverford does is the right thing for all of us,” Weiss said when speaking to a crowd at Haverford the day after he announced the move. “But also beyond us, there’s a model here of what higher education can be when it’s operating at the highest level ... Small colleges can have a big impact because of their image.”
In his final year at Lafayette, Weiss said he will focus on moving along those initiatives already begun, including the Oeschle Center for Global Studies and Williams Arts Campus.
How he works with two institutions in the same year will be largely “based on my ability to make a case,” he told The Lafayette. “From where I sit, the effectiveness of a president rests on their ability to make a case for compelling ideas and to provide support for those ideas.”
The search for the 17th president of Lafayette will begin in the coming weeks, but Weiss is uncertain how the search will be led and who will lead it.