HONOLULU — University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood will retire in September for personal, health and family reasons, the school said Monday.
The Board of Regents will discuss plans to replace Greenwood in coming months, the university said in a statement.
Greenwood, who took office in 2009, plans to take unpaid leave and return to a tenured faculty position at the university after that.
“This university has accomplished an amazing amount in a rather short and extremely challenging time,” said Greenwood said in a statement.
She told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that her retirement is not related to the athletic department’s botched attempt to hold a fundraiser concert headlined by Stevie Wonder. State lawmakers criticized Greenwood’s response when it became clear the university was scammed out of a $200,000 deposit by someone falsely claiming to represent the singer.
The late Sen. Daniel Inouye defended Greenwood amid the critical onslaught by praising her in a letter he sent to the Board of Regents in November.
He said that, under Greenwood, he had “a particularly successful” partnership with the university in attracting investments for the school in astronomy, oceans and other fields.
On Monday, Board of Regents Chairman Eric Martinson hailed Greenwood for her “outstanding” accomplishments as president. The university’s reputation advanced nationally and internationally under her leadership, he said.
“She’s been instrumental in putting the university on the path to increased cooperation with the business community and has helped build recognition of the importance of the university for the economic engine it represents for Hawaii,” Martinson said in a statement.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie wished Greenwood good fortune in years to come and said he would contact the board and the wider community “as we chart our next steps.”
In a statement, he said he was impressed with Greenwood’s commitment and desire to give her very best effort on behalf of the University of Hawaii.
Greenwood took over from David McClain, an economics professor and administrator who had stepped in after the Board of Regents fired Evan Dobelle.
Dobelle was fired for cause in 2004 amid concerns about sloppy administration, management of university funds, and his hiring of friends and former colleagues for high-paying jobs at UH. He later reached a $1.8 million settlement with UH and now is president of Westfield State College in Massachusetts.