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      Lourdes University president steps down

      Robert Helmer will step down as Lourdes University president at the end of the school year.

      On Feb. 13, Robert C. Helmer announced that he will step down from the leadership of Lourdes University at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year. During the announcement, he remarked that the decision to leave was "not an easy one," and shared that he has accepted a position to serve as president of Baldwin Wallace College.

      Helmer joined the Lourdes community as assistant professor of history in 1996 and was appointed president in fall 2003. During his tenure as president, the institution experienced unprecedented growth.

      "Dr. Helmer's dedication to Lourdes and the legacy that he leaves is visible in the incredible campus that he has helped shape," said Joseph Nachtrab, Lourdes Board of Trustees president. "He will be greatly missed throughout the institution, and we wish him the best success as he begins this new endeavor."

      Under his leadership, Lourdes has enjoyed eight years of record breaking enrollment, numerous awards, the addition of a new academic building and dining facility, residential housing, NAIA athletics and, most recently, a transition from college to university status.

      "The Sisters of St. Francis are forever grateful for Dr. Helmer's work in furthering our education ministry," said Sr. Diana Lynn Eckel, congregational minister for the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania. "He led the institution to new heights and today, Lourdes has grown to be a Franciscan university with a stellar nationwide reputation."

      The institution will conduct a presidential search and appoint a search committee who will represent all facets of the Lourdes Community. The search is expected to take approximately one year with the eighth president being inaugurated during the 2013-2014 academic year.

      An interim president will be appointed to lead Lourdes University throughout the 2012-2013 academic year.