Sue Hammersmith, the president of Metropolitan State University since 2008, has announced she will retire next June, at the end of her contract.
The announcement came only weeks after news reports that faculty members were up in arms over payroll problems that had left some of them unpaid for months.
But Hammersmith said Wednesday that the recent turmoil played no role in her decision and that it was “a great joy and a privilege” to serve as president. She said age was a factor — she will turn 66 the day before her contract expires next June. “When you turn 65, it’s just natural to think about,” she said.
An interim president will be appointed for the 2014-15 academic year, and a search for a permanent replacement will begin next summer, the university said.
Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, praised Hammersmith in a written statement.
“Under President Hammersmith’s leadership, the university made significant progress in serving the community,” he said, noting that enrollment has grown 20 percent during her tenure. Metro State has more than 12,000 students, mostly working adults.
Hammersmith, a sociologist, has been in higher education for 38 years. Before joining Metro State, she was provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.