Dr. Jay Noren resigns as 10th president of Wayne State University

July 20, 2010

The Board of Governors of Wayne State University today accepted with regret the resignation of Dr. Jay Noren as president, effective August 6, 2010. Dr. Noren has been Wayne State's 10th president since August 1, 2008, after a distinguished career in higher education at a number of prominent universities.

"Two years ago, when I began my tenure as president of Wayne State, I said that this leadership position is perhaps the most exciting opportunity in higher education today," said Noren. "I continue to believe that. However, personal issues during this past year have become increasingly important and are fundamental to my decision to resign."

In a message to campus, Noren noted, "When my wife Sheri and I decided to take demanding positions in separate cities (Sheri is provost at Illinois State University), we anticipated it would be personally challenging. However, we did not anticipate Sheri's breast cancer diagnosis, which has dramatically increased those challenges this past year. She is now doing well, with successful chemotherapy and an excellent prognosis. Nonetheless, though I will miss participating in and observing the realization of Wayne State's huge potential, this transition will enhance our personal lives significantly."

Speaking for the entire Board of Governors, Chair Richard Bernstein issued the following statement:

"Jay has brought a wealth of energy and experience to the university and has made major contributions to our missions of teaching, research and community engagement, further enhancing the reputation of Wayne State nationally and internationally. He has worked tirelessly with the new School of Medicine leadership to strengthen and expand our teaching and clinical relationships with many of the area's premier hospitals and health care systems, for the betterment of the university and health care in the region. His efforts in this area have culminated in a new contract with the Detroit Medical Center, and an expanding relationship with the Henry Ford Health System and other health system partners, which will continue uninterrupted.

"Under Jay's leadership, we have grown our enrollment amid daunting economic challenges and helped raise our stature as a premier urban research university. We have continued our upward trajectory in research activity and, most importantly, maintained our reputation for and access to academic excellence. Wayne State is now well poised to be an important contributor to the U.S. in understanding and dealing with major urban and community issues. During his tenure the university opened the Richard J. Mazurek , M.D. Medical Education Commons, a state-of-the-art addition to the medical school, and the Marvin I. Danto Engineering Development Center. Construction is now underway for an addition to the Chemistry Building, and the university recently broke ground on the new Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights.

"Jay has been deeply involved, together with the leadership of other Detroit institutions and foundations, in the redevelopment of Midtown, an effort that continues to gain momentum. He has advanced our University Research Corridor partnership, and grown TechTown into a thriving economic and entrepreneurial engine that now serves nearly 250 businesses.

"The university community thanks Dr. Noren for his service, but fully understands his decision to step down. We wish Jay and Sheri the very best."

Dr. Noren, a tenured member of the School of Medicine faculty, will be on sabbatical leave for the coming academic year at Illinois State University, where his wife is provost. "It has been a pleasure to serve the university during such a challenging and important time in its history," concluded Noren. "And I believe WSU is continuing on a path to realize its major potential as one of the nation's leading urban research universities. I am confident in Wayne State's direction, its leadership, and most of all its people, and look forward to watching its progress in the years ahead."

Dr. Phyllis Vroom, Dean of the School of Social Work and currently acting provost, will be acting president pending the Board's appointment of an interim president. Dr. Vroom has served with distinction in a number of leadership positions over a 41-year career at Wayne State. The Board of Governors will begin a national search for a permanent successor to Dr. Noren immediately.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research university offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.