January 11, 2018

U of L’s Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation retires

By Shelby Brown–

After 32 years of service under his belt Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation Bill Pierce is retiring Jan. 31. Pierce held the title of executive vice president for eight years, recalling his time at U of L with fondness.

“I have been proud to be here this long and have really enjoyed it,” Pierce said.

Pierce acknowledged the changes at U of L and the “turbulent” times, however he believes the university will be stronger for it with support from the campus and community.

“Dr. Pierce’s retirement will be a real loss, as he has had a great impact on this university, its students, the community and his profession,” Interim President Greg Postel said in an email.

According to U of L spokesperson John Karman, Pierce has been contemplating retirement for many months. Pierce stayed on to aid in support and assistance while administration handled the SACSCOC accreditation issue.

“With the university well positioned for the future, Dr. Pierce decided now is a good time to make his retirement official,” Karman said.

Professor Robert Keynton will take over as interim to Pierce, and a search for a permanent replacement is currently underway. Along with teaching in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, Keynton is the Lutz Endowed Chair of biomechanical devices of the department of bioengineering at the university.

“I think he will do a fine job, he’s good, he’s a very smart guy and he’s creative,” Pierce said.

Postel said he is also confident in Keynton as interim.

Pierce returned to his alma mater in 1985 to teach pharmacology, toxicology and chemistry. Pierce oversaw graduates, postgraduates, professional and undergraduate students in eight of U of L’s colleges. Pierce also served as a faculty senate chair, on the board of trustees, the research foundation board, alumni board of directors and the athletic association.

“Bill has been a great colleague for many years. I appreciate the calm demeanor, steady guidance and sense of humor he has shared during the past year as we have resolved several issues facing the university,” Postel said.

While Postel said the search for a permanent replacement will begin immediately, Pierce’s departure leaves U of L with another interim. In central administration interim positions include president, provost, chief financial officer and chief operating officer.

Joseph K. Han was hired as COO in December and Jonathan Pruitt as the next CFO in November. Listening tours for the presidential search are scheduled for Jan. 17 and 18.

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