President John Knapp sent out an email on Monday, April 11, at approximately 3:45 p.m. to faculty and staff notifying them that Rich Ray was stepping down as provost, effective immediately.
In the email, Knapp stated, “It is my belief that new and different leadership is needed for Hope’s academic program,” and commented that he and Ray had multiple discussions leading up to Ray’s departure.
Ray will be taking a year-long leave of absence, and Jim Boelkins, who acted as provost for eight years prior to Ray, will act as interim provost for the time being. Ray will remain on the Hope College faculty as a kinesiology professor but will not be teaching until July 1, 2017, upon returning from his leave. In a response to Knapp’s email, Ray expressed his gratitude toward his time as provost.
As of Monday evening, multiple sources have confirmed a meeting of the Board of Trustees with Knapp to take place on Tuesday, April 12. It is unsure whether or not this is related to Ray leaving.
The reason for Ray’s sudden departure is currently unclear, but The Anchor intends to look further into the situation in the coming weeks.
This announcement comes only shortly after Patrice Rankine, dean for the arts and humanities, declared that he would be leaving Hope to serve as the dean of the arts and sciences department at the University of Richmond. The loss of both Ray and Rankine means that the Hope administration will face a lot of transition in the coming months.