Interim UT president of outgoing Dr. Jacobs: "He has been a good - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Interim UT president of outgoing Dr. Jacobs: "He has been a good mentor"

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The University of Toledo has chosen the Dean of the College of Engineering to be the new interim president.

Doctor Nagi Naganathan takes the reigns temporarily on July 1st replacing Doctor Lloyd Jacobs who held the leadership position for eight years.

As the university searches for the permanent replacement, the head ambassador of UT Rocket Nation is changing from a surgeon to a mechanical engineer.

Naganathan has worked for the University of Toledo for 28 years. He has been the Dean of the College of Engineering for more than a decade.

The UT Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Monday to name the Dean of the College of Engineering as Interim University President.

"It sure does not mean status quo with Nagi Naganathan," says Joseph Zerbey, the Chairman of the UT Board of Trustees. "The board is enthusiastic about his ability to keep the university moving upward."

The 58-year-old earned his bachelor's degree in India, his master's in New York, and his Ph.D. from Oklahoma State. His degrees are all in mechanical engineering.

"Every university is dealing with challenges in higher education today," says Naganathan. "We do have to look at enrollment, manage the enrollment, not just by recruiting, but by retaining our students."

On July 1st Naganathan replaces Doctor Lloyd Jacobs who announced Friday after eight years as president he's heading to Washington, D.C., on a sabbatical to serve a fellowship with a global economic development non-profit group: the Council on Competitiveness.

Jacobs plans to return to UT next year as a professor of surgery.

13abc's Christine Long asks, "The departure of Dr. Jacobs, it seems sudden. Is it a friendly departure?" Zerbey answers, "Yes, I think so. I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Jacobs. He's not only in my estimate a rocket star as a president, he's a personal friend. I think this is a huge honor for him."

Naganathan says he has worked closely with Jacobs.

"He has been a good mentor and he has been a good friend, so I am very appreciative of his leadership," says Naganathan. "There are good people here on the ground and good people find good opportunties and are transitioning into them and people recognize that, so we are ready to move on as a university."

Naganathan says he plans to transition the university into its next chapter.

13abc's Christine Long asks, "Are you interested in the permanent job?" Naganathan answers, "Interesting question (laughs). I should say it is an option."

Naganathan says it's too premature to think about getting the permanent job.

The university has hired a firm to conduct the nationwide search.

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