Joanne Glasser tendered her resignation early Tuesday as president of Eastern Kentucky University and was named to the top position at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.

“It is an honor to have been selected to serve as the next president of Bradley University,” she said in a press release on Bradley’s Web site. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity given to me by the board of trustees and the presidential search committee. I am proud to be part of the rich heritage at Bradley and look forward to being very involved in the university community, Peoria and the region we serve.

“I truly believe Bradley University is one of the very best institutions of higher learning in the nation, and I look forward to working with Bradley’s faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends to continue to move this great university forward,” Glasser said.

Glasser had been in Peoria, a city in downstate Illinois with a population of more than 112,000, the past few days meeting with officials at Bradley about becoming their new president.

The 56-year-old Glasser is the 10th and first female president at Bradley.

She said she came to the decision “after much careful thought.”

“This announcement is not an easy one for me, because EKU is special for so many reasons, but mainly because of the strong commitment to serving students,” she said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “I want to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful faculty and staff who inspired me with their deep passion for excellence in teaching, mentoring and service. More than you could ever know, I appreciate your talents, your dedication and your cooperative spirit as we’ve worked together to move the university forward.”

“I also want to thank the students,” Glasser said. “I will leave with many fond memories of watching you grow, academically and socially, before my very eyes, and I know you will go on to enjoy successful careers and serve as leaders in your professions and communities. Truly, EKU is blessed with some of the finest, most hard-working students in the nation. I wish you only the best.”

In light of the impending start of the academic semester, she said she will begin transitioning immediately to her new position at Bradley, while continuing to assist the EKU Board of Regents with the transition process.

Glasser, who informed the board of regents Monday she was interviewing for the presidency at Bradley, was EKU’s first female president.

“During her six years as the university’s 10th president, EKU has made significant strides in several areas, most notably in fundraising, strategic planning and overall reputation of the institution, and we are appreciative of her services,” Hunter Bates, chair of the EKU Board of Regents, said in a statement released to the campus. “It has been during her tenure that the university’s first comprehensive capital campaign was launched and has now reached 75 percent of its campaign goal.”

Bates said the board will soon be communicating to the university community specific plans for an “orderly transition in leadership.”

“We will be shortly naming an interim president and beginning an aggressive national search for EKU’s 11th president to continue our progress.” he said. “I assure each member of the student body, faculty, staff and alumni that EKU will continue to move forward as we remain a leader in higher education in the commonwealth.”

Glasser reportedly toured facilities on the Bradley campus Monday after meeting Sunday with upper administration and members of the board of trustees about the presidency of the university, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 students.

“I am visiting the Bradley campus in Peoria to explore this professional opportunity and to personally assess if the university and community would be a good fit for me,” Glasser said in a statement Monday evening. “At the same time, Bradley representatives will be making the same determination about my qualifications to serve as their president. As I have always told those who work for me, you must explore opportunities when they are presented to you.

“While I have and continue to be proud of my efforts at Eastern, given the attractiveness of the opportunity being presented to me, I must give this matter serious consideration,” she stated.

She was announced as Bradley’s president during a Tuesday press conference on the campus.

“In searching for our 10th president, we sought a leader who would continue Bradley’s renaissance, bringing new ideas, new skills and new life to this campus,” said Gerald Shaheen, chairman of the Bradley University Board of Trustees and Bradley’s presidential search committee. “We sought an individual of the highest character — a gifted administrator, skilled communicator and passionate advocate for students and faculty.”

The 12-member search committee chose Glasser out of a field of 60 applicants from across the country.

Shaheen drew strong comparisons between Glasser and the woman who founded Bradley University in 1897.

“We sought a visionary thinker who would not just carry on, but enhance the legacy of Lydia Moss Bradley,” he said. “It is most appropriate in this 110th anniversary year of a university founded by a woman, that its newest president should also be a woman — a woman with stature, vision and dedication that would have made Mrs. Bradley proud.”

A native of Baltimore, Md., Glasser has served since 2001 as president of EKU, which has an enrollment of more than 16,000 students.

She previously served as executive vice president of Institutional Advancement at Towson University in Maryland. She also served as vice president for Institutional Advancement and as executive assistant to the president of Towson.

She was a finalist for the president job at Illinois State University in 2004, but she withdrew her name from consideration.

“From the minute I set foot on the Richmond campus in 2001, I sensed I was joining something special,” Glasser said. “And, with each day I had the privilege to serve as your president, I became more and more convinced of the uniqueness of the Eastern experience.”

Glasser’s contract at EKU, which ran through October 2011, was extended in January by the board of regents for the second time in her career. The extension raised her base salary from $268,539 to $295,393.

“I am grateful for the support of our board of regents and the confidence the board has shown in my leadership,” she said at the time. “We have many accomplishments to celebrate and there is much for the university community to be proud of. This is truly an exciting time in the history of the university and it is an honor to serve as president of this great institution.”

Glasser is replacing David Broski, who retired at the end of June after serving as president of the Missouri Valley Conference university for seven years.

Broski earned more than $357,000 in salary and benefits during the 2004-05 school year, about $127,000 more than the median for similar institutions.

Shaheen declined to reveal Glasser’s deal, calling that matter private.

“I leave knowing that Eastern Kentucky University is poised for greatness,” she said. “Yes, I feel good about my work here and I hope I’ve enriched your lives in some small way. But, I feel even better about the faculty, staff and students I will leave behind. I know you’ve enriched my life tremendously, and you give me great hope for the future of EKU.”

Bryan Marshall can be reached at bmarshall@richmondregister.com or 624-6691.

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