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President of Drury University in Springfield says he plans to retire at end of school year


SPRINGFIELD, Missouri — The president of Drury University has announced his plans to retire.

The Springfield News-Leader reports ( ) that David Manuel sent an email to students Thursday after notifying the university's Board of Trustees of his plans to retire at the end of the school year. His last day is expected to be May 31.

"For several months, I have been considering my future personal and professional plans in light of completing nearly 41 years in higher education," he wrote in the four-paragraph email to students.

Manuel has led the university since 2013. The Louisiana native and former chancellor of Louisiana State University at Alexandria was selected in late 2012 to replace Todd Parnell, who had announced plans to retire at the end of the 2012-13 year.

Manuel signed a three-year contract when he started in 2013. His planned exit date of May 31 marks the end of that contractual obligation.

Under Manuel, the private liberal arts university in Springfield has seen a drop in enrollment, as well as cuts to faculty, staff and budgets. Traditional "day school" enrollment at Drury stands at 1,315.

In September and October, the university administration was openly criticized by some students upset about its plan to cut 12 faculty jobs -- five at the end of this year and seven at the end of next year -- to save money and redirect resources.

Manuel and other administrators participated in a series of student forums, during which they answered questions and explained the strategy behind the cuts as well as plans to increase enrollment in the coming years.

University spokesman Mike Brothers says the board hasn't announced a framework for replacing Manuel.

Manuel says he'll work closely with the board during the transition.

Information from: Springfield News-Leader,

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