Gonzaga University’s acting president called for “a time of healing and new beginnings” four days before the start of the new school year.
“I really believe that the Holy Spirit is with us, guiding the university through the turmoil we face and have faced in its history,” acting president Harry Sladich told faculty and staff Friday.
Even as Sladich spoke, students outside the Martin Centre were slapping white paint over graffiti that read, “Money Talks, Glynn Walks.” It was a reference to the Rev. Edward Glynn, who was forced to resign last May after less than nine months as GU’s president.
Glynn was dismissed over “deep philosophical differences” with the university’s board of trustees. Glynn’s forced departure was criticized by many Jesuits, and was a topic of discussion in some national Catholic periodicals.
At the same time, enrollment dropped, forcing what Sladich called “Draconian” measures to balance the budget.
But, Sladich noted Friday, there is also good news.
Private donations hit a near-record of $8.4 million during the 1995-96 school year. U.S. News and World Report recently named GU one of the top regional schools in the West. And the school’s law students continue to perform better on the state bar exam than those from other schools.
Sladich called Glynn’s departure “extremely difficult for all of us, including me.”
Glynn criticized board members for micro-managing and other perceived faults.
“Those criticisms, I’m sure, were well-intended,” said Sladich, the former board secretary. “I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise that I don’t agree with them.”
He said he doesn’t know how long the search for a new president will last. Sladich, who can’t have the job because he is not a Jesuit priest, joked that it’s not a bad position.
“I have my own restroom,” he said.
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