Furman Univ. president stepping down - FOX Carolina 21

Furman Univ. president stepping down

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Furman University President Rod Smolla. (Source: Furman Univ.) Furman University President Rod Smolla. (Source: Furman Univ.)

Furman University's president is stepping down this summer for personal reasons, according to the school's spokesperson.

President Rod Smolla will step down effective June 30 and the trustees met on Monday, electing Carl Kohrt as interim president, spokesperson Vince Moore said.

"I have enjoyed my tenure at Furman, which is truly one of the gems in American higher education, and I am confident that the institution will continue to grow in influence and reputation," Smolla said. "The decision to resign was reached only after long and thoughtful deliberation, and in the end I felt that the needs of my family must be first among my priorities."

Smolla was president for less than three years, appointed in July 2010 as the school's 11th president. During his tenure, admission applications increased by 30 percent using an admissions approach that focused on qualities such as leadership, service, resilience, persistence and drive.

Additionally, while Smolla was president, the enrollment of freshman minority students doubled and freshman international students grew from one student to 29.

In addition to academics, Smolla helped secure significant donations to the university's "Because Furman Matters" capital campaign, helped add men's and women's lacrosse and hire several new coaches for the school's 20 teams.

Another trustee, Robert Hill, will chair a search committee to find the Travelers Rest university's next president. In the meantime, Kohrt will preside over the university.

"Carl Kohrt was the immediate and unanimous choice of the board to serve as interim president," Richard Cullen, Chairman of the Board of Trustees said. "He is a strong leader and a really bright guy, with great academic credentials and an exemplary record of business leadership. We'll be in good hands."

Kohrt was a 1965 Furman grad and now resides on Lake Keowee after returning to the Upstate in 2000.

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