President Gilbert looks back on time at Marshall ahead of his resignation

Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert spoke with the Parthenon about the accomplishments and memories of his six years of service as he reflected on his resignation.  

Gilbert said he was particularly proud of the Friend at Marshall, or “FAM” program, which gives MU’s freshmen and sophomores personal guidance and assistance from upperclassmen via weekly check-ins and conversations. 

“We had a five percent increase in the freshman to sophomore retention rate as a result of this program in just one year,” said Gilbert. 


Gilbert said looking back, he found some of his other proudest accomplishments to be the creation of Marshall’s Bill Noe Flight School, the University’s research expenditure growing from $20 million to $50 million, helping the University make R2 status and the construction of MU’s new School of Business on Fourth Avenue with the help of a $25 million donation from Brad and Alys Smith. 

Gilbert also discussed the hardships he and the University faced last year regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“What was going to happen to our students and our faculty?” asked Gilbert. “We put in place a plan to reduce our budget to try to prepare for a potential financial crisis that could occur, it didn’t occur to the level that we were prepared for, but we did have a decrease in students and a decrease in tuition.” 

President Gilbert said he faced the challenge of addressing the University’s pandemic-fueled financial hardships without letting go of any faculty or staff. 

“We actually cut salaries of faculty and staff,” Gilbert said. “We would keep those salaries reduced until we felt like the budget was back in shape, we didn’t want to fire anybody.” 

President Gilbert said he was grateful for the compromises the faculty and student body have made for the betterment of Marshall’s future during the pandemic. 

“Our faculty and staff were really supportive of managing our budget in a conservative way.” Gilbert said. “About 85% of our employees are vaccinated and over 65% of our students.” 

Gilbert said while he is proud of his accomplishments, the time has come for him to move forward.  

“Everything in my life has decided as such that it is time that I do something else,” Gilbert said. 

 Gilbert said after his resignment he will always have a great relationship with the school. “Certainly I’m open to being associated with Marshall in the future,” Gilbert said.