President moves: 1 momentous resignation, 3 leaders enter 2024 with new prospects

Despite only serving as permanent president of Briar Cliff University for less than a year, Patrick Schulte has resigned and accepted a leadership position elsewhere.

The fresh start of a new year means many different things to people. For some, it’s about entering with open arms and a level head. Leadership at Harvard University will get to test their equanimity after a headline-worthy shakeup that shot one of the world’s most prominent institutions of higher education into the defensive on the first days of 2024.

For those spared a tumultuous beginning of the spring semester, the new year is about taking new opportunities across state lines. Three administrative leaders featured here did just that.

More from UB: Here are states’ top 10 priorities for higher education in 2024


Neil Woolf – New Mexico Highlands University
Neil Woolf (Source: Southern Oregon University)

Southern Oregon University Executive Vice President Neil Woolf will be packing his bags and heading south for the winter. Depending on his success as the newly appointed president of New Mexico Highlands University, he might just stay year-round.

NMHU’s board of trustees has selected Woolf based on what he’s accomplished throughout his five years in Oregon. SOU President Rick Bailey mentioned his ability to coordinate with the Oregon Health Authority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and facilitating data sharing strategies throughout the region as among his most notable achievements, KDRV reports.

Woolf starts next summer.

Stepping down

Mark Anarumo – Norwich University (Vt.)

Mark Anarumo, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, has tendered his resignation as president of Norwich University. While the school’s board of trustees has minced words on exactly why, they revealed it has to do with violating the military college’s policies and “values,” VTDigger reports. The board began an outside investigation in November on Anarumo that found he “violated Norwich’s core guiding values and University policy,” Seven Days reports. The former president describes his parting with the university as a “mutual decision.”

Anarumo had served for about three and a half years.

Claudine Gay – Harvard University

Harvard University President Claudine Gay was pressured to step down due to mounting allegations of plagiarism and public blowback from a miscalculated Congressional hearing on campus antisemitism. She was the shortest-serving president in Harvard’s history, last six months. Read more here.

Patrick Schulte – Briar Cliff University (Iowa)
Patrick Jacobson-Schulte (Source: Briar Cliff University)

Despite only serving as permanent president of Briar Cliff University for less than a year, Patrick Schulte has resigned and accepted a leadership position elsewhere. He became interim president in July 2022, permanent in March 2023 and was officially inaugurated last September. A new interim has been picked up with over a decade of experience on Briar Cliff’s Board of Trustees. and is also an esteemed alumnus, Sioux City Journal reports.

Schulete is off to Donnelly College in Missouri to pursue a “new executive leadership position,” the university said in a statement. He had previously served as Briar Cliff’s vice president of finance.

Richard “Biff” Williams (Source: Utah Tech)
Richard Williams – Utah Tech

Richard Williams is stepping down following a nearly 10-year tenure at Utah Tech University.

Undergoing a name change from Dixie State University to Utah Tech in 2022 to leverage its polytechnic mission, the university has changed markedly under Williams’ guidance. The institution has added more than 200 academic programs and introduced its first graduate degrees, while student enrollment has increased by 42%, Deseret News reports. Utah Tech has also undergone significant campus facility operations, renovating or constructing 42 under the 10 years of Williams’ leadership.

His accomplishments landed him a feature as one of the Most Inspiring Thought Leaders Transforming Education by “Insights Success.”

William is leaving Utah Tech to pursue higher education administrative positions elsewhere.

Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel is a UB staff writer and first-generation journalism graduate from the University of Florida. His beats have ranged from Gainesville's city development, music scene and regional little league sports divisions. He has triple citizenship from the U.S., Ecuador and Brazil.

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