A day after Ball State University Trustees announced the surprise resignation of President Paul Ferguson, the reasons behind the decision remain unclear. The university has not issued a public response, instead directing questions to Indianapolis-based crisis and strategic advisor Myra Borshoff. Ball State Board of Trustees Chair Rick Hall says the board and Ferguson reached a mutual decision. Our partners at WTHR-TV in Indianapolis report the resignation caught students off-guard, including Student Body President Jack Hesser.
Hesser said "I was definitely really sad to hear it. I found out just before the official email went out and I think that Dr. Ferguson will be remembered for the amazing energy he brought, I loved working with him, I think that he was an exceptional president."
A statement from the board says it accepted Ferguson’s request for a two-month sabbatical and his resignation following the leave. Hall said:
While the Board and Dr. Ferguson are disappointed that this relationship has ended, we wish Dr. Ferguson and his wife, Grace, well in their future endeavors. The Board has tremendous confidence in the ability of the faculty and the administration to build upon their past successes. The collective effort of the entire University community will be especially important as we approach the Centennial Celebration of Ball State in 2018.
Comments from Ferguson were also included in the statement:
It has been an honor and privilege for Grace and me to work with and to serve the faculty, staff, and especially our students, at Ball State University. We have, together, worked diligently to refresh our vision and legacy of beneficence and entrepreneurship, refocused on being student-centered and community-engaged, and improved many of our policies and procedures to be best practices.
Ferguson’s announcement comes less than two years after taking the position. He was named Ball State’s 15th president in May 2014 after three years at the helm of the University of Maine. He succeeded Jo Ann Gora, who was on the job for 10 years.
For now, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Terry King will serve as acting president. He was named interim president after Gora retired in 2014.