Idaho President Tim White Resigns

THIS AFTERNOON THE UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO announced that President TIMOTHY WHITE has resigned and will be accepting the Chancellor's position at the University of California - Riverside. Dr. White's brief career at Idaho saw him steer the University from the Idaho Place fiasco of 2004 to greater stability in '08, the National Medal of Arts award, and Operation Education for US military veterans.

The University of Idaho announced that, effective June 30th, Dr. Timothy White has resigned as the sixteenth President of the school to accept the Chancellor's position at the University of California - Riverside. The news comes just weeks after Idaho confirmed, on April 25th, that Dr. White was talking to another institution about taking their helm. His departure was unexpected in that his contract was not scheduled to expire for a few years and there was no hint that he was interested in another position. White also informed Idaho's Governor, the State Board of Education, and numerous key alumni and donors of his resignation.

"It has been a great honor to lead Idaho's flagship public research university for the past four years," White said. "I will forever be humbled and honored to have had the special privilege of being part of this enduring and noble institution. My wife, Karen, and I always will have a fond place in our hearts for the University of Idaho, and its inspiring students, faculty, staff and alumni."

Dr. White began his term at the University of Idaho in August of 2004. It was a term that was marked with several achievements. Dr. White openly and frequently discussed his renewal plans and accomplishments to numerous audiences. He also directly addressed the financial issues related to Idaho Place. The final chapter of the Idaho Place real estate incident was closed after White started his term on the Moscow campus.

During White's term at Idaho US President George W. Bush awarded the prestigious National Medal of Arts to the school for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. This was the first time a higher learning institution had ever won the award. Idaho also started a program called Operation Education that awarded scholarships to US military veterans after they were wounded after September 11, 2001. Dr. White was the only school President to openly speak about Vandal athletics to the media, alumni, and fans. He also started the campaign to renovate the ASUI-Kibbie Dome and to bring the building up to code by preparing the school for a bond sale that would raise approximately $17 million for life safety improvements to the multi-purpose dome.

The principal achievement of Dr. White's term at the University of Idaho was the re-organization of the school's management team. He also tackled initiatives related to the ever-growing cost of employee and retirement benefits to school employees.

Idaho joined the Western Athletic Conference only months before White became the school's President. His critics were frustrated with a lack of commitment while others noted that he seemed to support the school's efforts to improve athletic facilities and athletic performance in the classroom and in competition. Dr. White hired Dennis Erickson as head football coach in February of 2006, but failed to retain the coach when he departed for greener pastures at Arizona State only 10 months later.

Specific reasons for Dr. White's resignation were not stated.

Before his short term at the University of Idaho, White served as the interim president at Oregon State University. He was a professor and chair of the movement science department at the University of Michigan. Dr. White also worked at the University of California, Berkeley, as professor and chair. He earned his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley.

The immediate impact on Idaho's $300 million campaign is not known, nor is the impact on the University of Idaho Foundation and its fund-raising activities. In January a $52 million project to remodel the ASUI/Kibbie Dome was announced with a splashy video and the aspiration to begin the work in 2009 or 2010.

A successor was not named, but Idaho's State Board of Education will name an interim President until a new president is sought and named by the board. "Tim White has brought the University of Idaho to a point where it is poised for the next level of success," said Milford Terrell, president of the State Board of Education and University of Idaho Board of Regents. "We are grateful for all that he has accomplished and wish him the very best in his new role as chancellor at Riverside."

From 2003 to 2004, Gary Michael, a former CEO of Albertson's, served as the acting President of the school. The SBOE will conduct a national search for Idaho's seventeenth President and Paul Agidius of Moscow and Sue Thilo of Coeur d' Alene will head the search committee for White's replacement.

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