ETTRICK, Va. – Virginia State University President Keith T. Miller is resigning at the end of the year amid concerns over declining enrollment and financial woes.
Miller on Friday agreed to step down Dec. 31 as he and the school’s board of visitors acknowledged a need for a change in leadership at the historically black land-grant university.
With enrollment down students, the university has closed residence halls, cut back its dining operation and curtailed maintenance.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the board will announce an interim president at its November meeting and launch a national search in January.
Rector Harry Black praised Miller for putting the interests of the university and students “at the forefront of this difficult decision.” Black said Miller and the board determined that VSU “should move in another direction strategically.”
The announcement, however, disappointed some students, who had demanded the resignation of Miller, the provost and the chief financial officer.
“We wanted a clean house. We didn’t get that,” said Anthony Jackson, a senior who brought petitions signed by more than 950 students to present to the board that sought the resignation of the top administrators.
Miller came to VSU in 2010 after serving six years as president of Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania. His contract was to have run to July 1, 2017.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Secretary of Education Anne Holton praised Miller’s decision to resign, saying it is in the best interest of the university.
McAuliffe called Miller a “fine public servant,” and Holton said VSU “has been providing Virginia students an excellent education for 132 years, and will continue its high quality of service to future generations of students for many more.”