TULSA - Citing "institutional stresses" and conflicting expectations among school constituencies, the president of Oklahoma's largest private university announced his resignation Wednesday.
Robert H. Donaldson, head of the University of Tulsa for five years, said he will step down as leader of the 4,600-student school at the conclusion of the 1995-1996 academic year.
Donaldson, 52, said in a prepared news release that university pressures "tend to focus on the president ... even though the tough decisions to ensure institutional soundness have been a shared responsibility. " A school spokesman said Donaldson wasn't taking media inquiries on Wednesday.
Keith E. Bailey, incoming chairman of the TU Board of Trustees, said Wednesday that Donaldson was not asked to resign.
But Bailey acknowledged that at times during Donaldson's tenure there has been "unhappiness by students and faculty. " In February, the TU Student Senate voted 26-0 on a motion declaring no confidence in the president.
In 1993, a group of TU students staged a walk-out of classes and then a sit-in at the university's administration building to air grievances against Donaldson, claiming he didn't listen to their needs and put his friends and acquaintances in top university jobs.
Outgoing TU board chairman Charles E. Norman, though, praised the school's president.
"We are certainly grateful to Bob Donaldson's contributions elevating the stature of TU. The university is well positioned to fulfill its educational mission," Norman said.
TU, a Presbyterian-affiliated school, has lost student enrollment in the past two years, in part due to the growth of the public University Center at Tulsa. Leaders of Oklahoma City University have recently proclaimed that OCU will pass TU in enrollment this fall.
But with an endowment of $365 million, mostly from wealthy oil-related families, TU does have a regional and national reputation in many academic areas.
"The University of Tulsa's reputation for quality and innovation is unquestioned and is growing. I am totally confident that this institution will continue to attract the very best in academic leadership," said Keith Bailey.
A national search for Donaldson's replacement will be launched, Bailey said.
Donaldson, a respected authority on Russian affairs, is the university's 15th president and came to TU after serving as president of Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. He has three degrees from Harvard University.
Donaldson's announcement Wednesday came two months after he said he was shifting day-to-day managerial responsibilities of the university to the provost and a council of vice presidents. TU recently announced a $100-million capital campaign, part of which will be used to build a new on-campus arena. The school has raised $55 million so far, Bailey said.
Donaldson, who is a member of TU's political science faculty, will take a full-year sabbatical after a new president is named in 1996, it was announced. BIOG: NAME:Archive ID: 614132