NewsJun 19, 2018

President to resign for personal health reasons

Experienced educational administrator and current Interim Provost Richard S. Hansen will serve as interim president

President Weiss and Provost Hansen at a gathering at University Hall.

Above photo: President Jeff Weiss (left) and Interim Provost Richard Hansen (right) speak with faculty.

After a busy and productive two years, President Jeff A. Weiss will step down on Aug. 31 because of personal health reasons.

Our Interim Provost Richard S. Hansen will serve as the interim president effective Sept. 1. Since he began as interim provost in July 2017, Dr. Hansen has worked closely with President Weiss and the entire university community, and we will continue to benefit from his experienced leadership as the Board of Trustees launches a search for the next president.

See the letter to the Lesley community from Board of Trustees Chair Hans Strauch.

See the letter to the Lesley community from President Jeff Weiss.

Our trustees will aim to appoint a new president to assume responsibilities on July 1, 2019 and are currently developing the search process, which will include a search committee of selected trustees, faculty and administrators.

“Because Rich Hansen has been working closely with President Weiss and the entire university community in his current role, his willingness to serve in an interim capacity ensures that the university will benefit from experienced leadership and institutional knowledge while we continue to move forward with current initiatives and launch a search for our next president,” said Hans Strauch, chair of our Board of Trustees. “Jeff will be available as a resource to Rich during the transition.”

President Weiss assumed leadership of Lesley on July 1, 2016, serving as Lesley’s sixth president in the university’s 109-year history. His tenure has been marked by his socially conscious leadership, an action-oriented focus on growing Lesley for the future, and extending Lesley’s reputation as an inclusive environment committed to effecting positive change on campus and in the larger community.

President Weiss at the podium offering remarks at the 2018 Unity Gala in Washburn Auditorium.
President Jeff A. Weiss

“Jeff has done a wonderful job. A great deal has been accomplished under his leadership during the past two years to strengthen and grow Lesley, and we look forward to building upon this as we move ahead,” said Strauch.

Strauch highlighted what he called “some of the excellent progress Lesley has made under Jeff’s leadership.” He credited President Weiss with a number of academic accomplishments, including the approval of a bachelor’s degree in social work; launching the Lesley Global Academic Advantage pathway program; achieving full accreditation for our business program; and the expansion of our animation facilities in our College of Art and Design.

Other university-wide accomplishments Strauch mentioned include establishing the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and appointing the first Chief Diversity Officer; establishing the Office of Strategy and Implementation, appointing its first Vice President, and launching the Lesley 2030 strategic planning initiative; testing new enrollment strategies; and implementing a new practice of financial modeling and business case development for new programs and other strategic investments.

Additional strategic initiatives include strengthening our inclusive excellence work, enhancing our focus on sexual assault awareness and prevention, implementing a high-performance culture, and broadening our support for commuter students. 

More about Dr. Richard S. Hansen

Prior to his service here, Dr. Hansen most recently held the role of provost at Wentworth Institute of Technology. Before that, he held interim provost roles at the University of New Orleans and the University of Louisiana System through The Registry, a placement firm specializing in interim placements for higher education institutions.

Provost Rich Hansen at the podium in the student center offering remarks at the 2018 farewell celebration.
Interim Provost Richard S. Hansen

Before joining The Registry, Dr. Hansen served as the provost and vice president for academic affairs and as the executive vice president for administration at Union Institute and University in Ohio, and as the senior vice president at Norwich University in Vermont. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Denver, a Master of Science in Education in college personnel administration from Indiana University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in higher education administration from the University of Denver.