It is time for Lawrence Biondi to move on.
So said Saint Louis University's president Father Lawrence Biondi in his announcement that he will be stepping down as head of the school -- a move that surprised many and sent reporters scrambling for details Saturday night. He broke the news at a private 25th anniversary gala over the weekend, and shortly after, rumors started to spread on Twitter about the embattled president's retirement. SLU officials sent out a statement saying the university will be searching for Biondi's successor in the fall.
Now, SLU has released footage of his much discussed speech. Watch his remarks below.
See also: - Father Lawrence Biondi Is Stepping Down as Saint Louis University President - Biondi Says "We Share a Common Goal," Amid Renewed Calls for His Resignation - Prof. Matthew Hall Criticizes Lawrence Biondi; Trustees Call Him Immature Liar
He drops the bombshell news starting at around the 13:50 mark.
His comments regarding the decision to step down as president are fairly short and somber.
"The transformation of Saint Louis University has truly been a team effort," he said. "And just as I helped lead SLU's transformation when I arrived here more than 25 years ago, I now know it is time for the next transformation to begin."
He continued, "I have decided to make a transition -- a transition in leadership for Saint Louis University. It is time for me to move on to the next phase of my own life."
This fall, the board will launch a search for his successor, he told the crowd of more than 800 people.
"I promise you that I will do everything that I can to make this transition to our next president as smooth as possible," he added. "But as I approach my 75th birthday, I know I am ready for new challenges, challenges that include hearing and listening carefully to the call of our General Superior in Rome...."
"Please know that I will never lose my love for SLU. This university is as much a part of me as my love for my Biondi clan, my friends, and of course, Italian food and Italian art. And I love what all of us have accomplished here together. When I look around this arena, I see many, many trusted friends.... I want to thank you. Thank you for your friendship and support. I cannot begin to tell you how important it has been to me knowing that I have so many of you to lean on."
He said, "Through your encouragement, through your generosity, through your very presence here tonight, I feel your love. I feel your support."
Continue for the university's full announcement.
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