By Kyeland Jackson —

Acting President Neville Pinto will leave U of L in February to become president at the University of Cincinnati.

“This is a unique opportunity to return to the university at which I have spent much of my career, but of course it is with some sadness that I will be leaving the University of Louisville,” Pinto’s statement said. “Together, we faced a number of challenges in recent months, but I am confident that the worst is behind us and a bright future lies ahead for the University of Louisville.”

UC welcomed Pinto, who spent 26 years of his career there.

“Neville Pinto returns to UC with a remarkable record in research, innovation, the development of industry partnerships, academic excellence and diversity,” UC Board of Trustees Chair Robert Richardson Jr. said in a press release. “He has established a stellar record as a collaborator who can work with community and corporate partners. He will be a great asset as UC launches our new 1819 Innovation Hub.”

Pinto’s departure could leave U of L, suffering from void board of trustees’ appointments, Chief Financial Harlan Sands’ resignation and an interim provost, scrambling for leadership. In a statement, U of L Board of Trustees Chair Larry Benz thanked Pinto for his service and said a new president should be named by mid-January.

Benz said the goal is to name an acting president by mid-January, leaving least four weeks of transitional time before Pinto leaves for the University of Cincinnati in February.

“Please be assured that there has been considerable thought around this issue and that a timeline has been put in place,” Benz’s statement said.

Benz said he will ask for faculty, staff and student opinion in what will be an internal search.

“I want to take this time to once again publicly thank Neville for steering the university through tough times over the last few months toward a brighter future,” Benz said. “I also want to thank our outstanding faculty, staff and students for all their great work over this last year. It is your work and in particular your focus, passion and dedication that allow us to progress and thrive especially during transitional times.”

Pinto’s leave comes at pressing times for U of L, currently under probation by its accrediting body. An investigation by State Auditor Mike Harmon also critiqued governance between the university and the U of L Foundation, stating the two lacked proper checks and balances under former president James Ramsey’s tenure.

File photo / The Louisville Cardinal