Ball State acting president says school running smoothly

The acting president of Ball State University says the school is operating smoothly following this week's announcement that its president had resigned.

Provost Terry King was named Ball State's acting president Monday with the university board of trustees' announcement of President Paul Ferguson's resignation, which is effective at the end of a two-month leave.

Officials gave no reason for Ferguson's departure. He became Ball State's president less than 18 months ago at age 61, and he was previously president of the University of Maine.

King told The Star Press of Muncie that the university "right now has tremendous momentum" and that his first priority is to ensure that it continues.

"The faculty are doing wonderful work, the students are engaged and excited and we have good relationships with the community," King said. "So that's where I'm going to put my attention for the next week or so and make sure things move smoothly."

This is the second time King has served as acting president at Ball State, with his first stint coming after the retirement of former President Jo Ann Gora in 2014. That was for a little less than two months and "was a very planned period of time" during the summer when activity is low, King said.

A typical search for a new president takes four to six months, King said, and it's a process that schools don't want to rush.

"The whole point of a search is we want the very best possible candidates possible so you take the time that is needed to get the president for the university," King said.

Ferguson's final official day at Ball State is March 25, but he is no longer actively serving as president.

The severance agreement approved Monday by Ball State's board of trustees called for Ferguson to immediately take a paid, two-month sabbatical leave followed by a year of severance pay at his base salary of $450,000 plus another $100,000 or so in other compensation. It did elaborate on reasons for the decision to part ways.

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