Arcadia’s board of trustees voted on Friday to terminate its president of less than two years, Carl “Tobey” Oxholm III, without cause, according to sources.
Oxholm, a former Drexel University administrator, said in a statement that he was “surprised and disappointed” that he was not allowed to continue to lead the university and sad that he was unable to say goodbye to students.
He and his wife are no longer on campus.
Oxholm said he was not give a reason for the termination.
"It was without cause and those who conveyed the decision to me declined to give me any reason or explanation for the decision or the speed of its implementation," he said.
In a brief statement this afternoon, Arcadia officials shed shed no light on why Oxholm was let go.
Spokeswoman Laura Baldwin said it was a confidential issue between the board and Oxholm.
Here’s Oxholm’s full statement to the Inquirer: “In the twenty months I served as President of Arcadia University, we accomplished great things together. Our campus has new labs, classrooms, playing fields, and a black box theater; we have a balanced budget and recently obtained a BBB+ stable bond rating from Standard & Poor's, despite the negative outlook given for the higher education sector; we had the largest first year class in the school’s 159-year history last fall, and the highest retention rate in over a decade; we appointed and granted tenure to faculty of exceptional ability as teachers and scholars; and I am told school spirit has never been higher, with over 10,000 applications for next year’s class already in, for just over 600 seats.
“I am very proud of my record of accomplishment at Arcadia and surprised and disappointed that I was not allowed to continue in the leadership of what is a wonderful liberal arts college with top-ranked graduate schools and a global presence that is unique in higher education. I thank my colleagues for their joy and excitement, their energy and enthusiasm. I am most sad not to have been able to say goodbye to the students, who were such a huge part of my life and for whom I gave my very best each and every day.”
Oxholm was in Washington D.C. the first weekend in March, representing the university at the American Council on Education conference.
At Drexel, Oxholm oversaw the graduate campus in Sacramento, Calif.
"This is the dream job for me," Oxholm had said at the time of his selection. "It allows me to be in Philadelphia working in the field of higher education, which I'm passionate about, close to family and friends, and reengaging again in the civic life of the city that I love."
Nicolette DeVille Christensen will serve as chief operating officer for the university, overseeing financial and administrative responsibilities, the university said. Baldwin declined to say why Christensen was named chief operating officer as opposed to acting or interim president. Christensen leads the college of global studies international team of faculty and staff. She has an MBA from the University of North Texas and a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Baldwin would not say if the board planned to do a national search for a new president.I