August 25, 2003

Hunter to leave provost's office Sept. 1

Michael Terrazas

Interim Provost Woody Hunter announced recently that he will step down from his position effective Sept. 1, co-terminus with the presidency of Bill Chace.

Hunter has served as interim provost since July 1, 2001, following the departure of former provost Rebecca Chopp. A few months earlier, when Chopp announced she was leaving Emory to become dean of Yale Divinity School, Hunter had just made public his plans to step down after 12 years as dean of the law school.

But when Chace asked him to serve a one- or possibly two-year term as interim provost, Hunter not only agreed but in fact will have extended that commitment by two months when he leaves the position next weekend. Hunter will take a sabbatical to pursue projects he said he has kept “on hold” for the past two years.

“As I have said many times, [the interim provostship] is perhaps the best job I ever have had,” Hunter wrote in a letter to Chace and President-designate Jim Wagner to inform them of his decision. “Emory is a fascinating institution, and serving as interim provost has provided me with the chance to learn much more about all the work that is going on here and to make many new friends across the campus.”

Hunter served as Emory’s chief academic officer during a time of fiscal constraint that followed years, even decades, of increasing revenues. As chair of the University’s Ways and Means Committee, he oversaw a cost containment and reduction exercise that resulted in a balanced budget for fiscal year 2004 despite severe reductions in endowment income due to the slumping stock market.

Hunter pointed to a number of faculty and senior administrative appointments as the accomplishments of which he is most proud during his time in the provost’s office, and he also cited acquisitions made by Special Collections in Woodruff Library. Particularly, the acquisition of African American materials, combined with the appointments of scholars of African American arts and letters, have made Emory a leading center for related areas of study and for study of the civil rights movement.

“I received Woody’s announcement with regret, because he has manifested seasoned ability, a clear head and a deep commitment to Emory during his two years in the provost’s office,” Chace said. “His understanding of the nature and distinctiveness of this University has enabled us to continue moving forward with purpose, and I’m immensely grateful for his service.”

“For 27 years I have been a member of the Emory faculty, and for more than half that time I have served in a senior administrative position,” Hunter wrote. “The development of Emory has been remarkable during that time, and I am pleased to have been part of the University leadership during this period of enormous intellectual growth.”

“Woody Hunter has been a true University citizen,” said Michael Johns, executive vice president for Health Affairs. “In a time of transition, he really stepped up to the plate and filled a critical gap. I found him to be a great partner.”

With his decision, Hunter has presented Wagner with one of the first major tasks of his new presidency: finding an acting provost and then launching a search for a permanent one.

“Emory owes a real debt of gratitude to Woody for his service,” Wagner said. “As for the future, we will seek the advice of the President’s Advisory Committee, of the Council of Deans and of the executive leadership of the University in formulating as soon as possible a plan to go forward.”