Oglethorpe University President Lawrence Schall has announced he will step down from the post next year. He has been president of Oglethorpe since 2005 and is currently the longest-serving sitting college or university president in Georgia, according to a press release.
Schall’s last day will be June 30, 2020. The Oglethorpe University Board of Trustees will convene a presidential search committee comprised of trustees, faculty, staff and students to identify a successor prior to Schall’s departure.
“I have been privileged to serve this university and have put my heart and soul into leading it to a strong, secure place,” Schall said in the news release.
“I could not be prouder of the thousands of graduates who have crossed Oglethorpe’s commencement stage since I arrived in 2005. As I consider how far we’ve come as an institution during that time, I am immensely optimistic about Oglethorpe and its future,” he said. “I am grateful my path in life brought me to the extraordinary city of Atlanta and to Oglethorpe, a community that strives to ‘make a difference.’”
Under Schall’s leadership, Oglethorpe has increased net assets by 174%, while reducing total debt by 51%; increased annual revenues by 152%; increased the endowment by 157%; grown enrollment by 50.8%; established strategic entrepreneurial partnerships; and experienced a rise in philanthropic giving, with more than $130 million raised since Schall took office in 2005, according to the news release.
“Larry has had an incredible tenure at Oglethorpe over the past 14 years, ushering our institution into an era of unprecedented innovation and growth,” alumnus Timothy P. Tassopoulos, chair of the Oglethorpe Board of Trustees and president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A, Inc., said in the press release.
“Under Larry’s leadership, Oglethorpe is stronger than ever-academically, philanthropically, and financially-positioning us to continue developing the next generation of global citizens and leaders for years to come,” he added.
Oglethorpe completed the largest campaign in its history in 2015, raising $50.2 million and surpassing its goal two years ahead of schedule. That was followed soon after by a $21.6 million campaign for the I.W. “Ike” Cousins Center for Science and Innovation, which opens later this year.
In 2017, Oglethorpe secured a $50 million gift commitment from alumnus Bill Hammack, retired CEO of CW Matthews, to establish the Q. William Hammack, Jr. School of Business, the largest gift in Oglethorpe’s history and the largest to a liberal arts school to establish a school of business. The Hammack School opens in fall 2019.
Oglethorpe last year launched Flagship 50, a merit tuition scholarship program that matches all 50 states’ flagship tuition for qualified students, becoming the first college in the nation to do so.
Schall has also been a staunch advocate for deferred action for childhood arrivals, or DACA students, also known as DREAMers. In 2019, Oglethorpe partnered with TheDream.US to offer scholarships to DREAMers, becoming the first partner institution in Georgia and the first in a “locked out” state, where DREAMers cannot get in-state tuition or state financial aid.
In 2012 following the Sandy Hook mass shooting, Schall formed College Presidents for Gun Safety, generating support from more than 300 college and university presidents and education leaders around the need for gun safety.
During the summer of 2015, Schall worked as an Uber driver to learn more about the new economy that students were participating in and wrote about his experience for the Huffington Post.