Saint Leo President Forgoes Inauguration in Favor of Student Scholarships

September 23, 2015

The inauguration of a university president is traditionally celebrated with much pomp and circumstance. These celebrations can be both quiet ceremonies and elaborate affairs. Or, in the case of Saint Leo University’s new president, there can be none at all.

Dr. William J. Lennox Jr., the ninth president of Saint Leo University, recently decided to forgo a formal inauguration ceremony. “A day or more centered around me seems at odds with our student-centered mission. Quite honestly, it’s not who I am or what I want to represent as the university’s president,” said Dr. Lennox.

He decided that instead of having an inauguration this academic year, Saint Leo University will mark the leadership change by providing 20 “inauguration scholarships.” To honor Saint Leo’s “one university” approach, it will award five $2,500 scholarships each to students from University Campus, the Center for Online Learning, education centers, and graduate programs. These one-time scholarships will be funded and provided by a donor to the university.

There is precedent for this type of action. In 2010, E. Gordon Gee, who twice served as the president of The Ohio State University, gave back some of his pay package. He directed more than $300,000 of his pay toward the $1 million he had personally pledged to donate toward scholarships. That same year, the University of Florida’s then president J. Bernard Machen donated his $285,000 bonus to the Florida Opportunities Scholars Program.

Saint Leo University students wishing to apply for these scholarships should visit the Scholarship Opportunities page. Students should locate the Inauguration Scholarship listing, and submit an application prior to October 30, 2015, to be eligible.

Saint Leo University administers a variety of privately funded scholarships made possible through gifts from generous benefactors. Students who apply for financial aid at Saint Leo University are automatically considered for the majority of these scholarship sources.

This scholarship story also appeared in Inside Higher Ed and 83 Degrees Media.