State of the University address by Dr. Nick Bruno

ULM PRESIDENT Dr. Nick Bruno just moments after he delivers his State of the University address. (August 2017)

University of Louisiana-Monroe President Nick Bruno informed university employees and supporters on Tuesday he planned to retire no later than June 30, after serving nine years in the university’s top post.

Bruno announced his decision in an email to university employees, supporters and alumni.

“I have agreed to remain until a new president has been selected, but hoped that would not extend beyond June 30,” Bruno said. “Due to my love for this institution and this job, it was one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make during my nearly forty-five years in higher education.”

Bruno, 68, is a native of Tangipahoa Parish. He began his term as ULM’s eighth president in early 2011 after a national search was completed to find a successor to former ULM President James Cofer Sr.

“I look forward to my remaining tenure to visit with as many of you as possible to personally thank you for your commitment, contributions and hard work,” Bruno said. “Your efforts have not gone unnoticed during the worst financial times in Louisiana higher education history. I do hope and pray that we will see continued reinvestment in higher education over the next several years so my successor will have the opportunity to continue to grow this great university and reward you for your work.”

Ouachita Parish Police Jury President Shane Smiley said ULM experienced tremendous growth under Bruno’s administration.

“I think he’s done a great job for ULM,” Smiley said. “He’s dedicated his life to higher education. I hope that whoever is the next president will follow in his footsteps.”

Some of Bruno’s recent major undertakings at ULM included bringing a new medical school to ULM as well as a failed campaign to drum up support for a 5-mill property tax funding the university. The ULM millage campaign took off in early 2019 before crashing weeks later amid a public outcry.

In his email, Bruno noted the university’s addition of the new Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, or VCOM, which is expected to accept students this year. The VCOM building is under construction on Bon Aire Drive.

Other projects deserved attention that might require more time than he could offer, according to Bruno.

“Today ULM is considered a blossoming medical science center,” Bruno said. “The opening of VCOM this year, as well as the addition of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program will continue to add to that status. There remains many opportunities for ULM to continue to excel and distinguish itself in Louisiana higher education in all of our academic programs. However, those opportunities will take several years of coordination and commitment to be realized. I cannot commit the additional time required to do so. Therefore, this decision is in the best interest of ULM.”

West Monroe Mayor Staci Mitchell commended Bruno for his work bringing VCOM to the university.

“I’m sad to see him go,” Mitchell said. “I love being at meetings with him and working with him. I wish him the best and hope he is able to enjoy retirement.”

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo declined to comment.

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