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Transitioning from the Presidency to Retirement: Advice from Presidential Retirees

By Stephen G. Pelletier

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2016

The role of college president comes with many challenges, requiring deft maneuvering in many different contexts and considerable planning. While focused on the daily business at hand, however, a university leader may not invest in the requisite level of thinking, planning, and strategizing that is needed to leave the presidency when it comes time to retire. Nonetheless, retiring from a university presidency requires considerable adroitness—and no little amount of planning.

This paper offers specific suggestions, drawn from actual experience of retired university presidents, for those who are thinking about leaving their own presidencies via retirement.  As noted in the foreword, "Learning more about the unique paths that presidents have taken to retirement—and the unique paths that they have taken afterward—creates a small body of knowledge that we believe will help presidents who are making this transition. That, then, is the purpose of this white paper: to provide some food for thought, based on the experiences of retired leaders, for college and university presidents who may themselves be considering retirement."

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