Lawrence Biondi's Retirement Speech at SLU Gala: "It Is Time For Me to Move On" (VIDEO)

click to enlarge Lawrence Biondi's gala speech. - via YouTube
via YouTube
Lawrence Biondi's gala speech.

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...."

click to enlarge Biondi exiting after his speech. - via YouTube
via YouTube
Biondi exiting after his speech.

"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."

The announcement comes after months of protest following last year's no-confidence vote from an overwhelming majority of faculty members.

Continue for the university's full announcement.

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