Education

Mount Mercy University president resigns after two months

Few answers about why Cedar Rapids native stepped down

Cedar Rapids-native Robert #x201c;Bob#x201d; Beatty became Mount Mercy University's 10th president and has resigned, the
Cedar Rapids-native Robert “Bob” Beatty became Mount Mercy University’s 10th president and has resigned, the private college announced Wednesday. (Mount Mercy University)

CEDAR RAPIDS — After only two months on the job, Mount Mercy University’s 10th president, Robert “Bob” Beatty, has resigned — just two days after a delayed start to the fall semester, plagued not only by the COVID-19 pandemic but by campuswide devastation from the historic Aug. 10 derecho.

The Cedar Rapids campus did not immediately release details about when, specifically, Beatty resigned or why.

In a Wednesday afternoon news release, Mount Mercy reported only that its Board of Trustees appointed Tim Laurent — provost and vice president for academic affairs — as interim president.

“We thank Dr. Beatty for his time at Mount Mercy and wish him well in his future endeavors,” Charlie Rohde, chairman of the Mount Mercy Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “We also thank Dr. Laurent for stepping in to serve as the interim president. His experience and commitment to higher education will continue to move the university forward.”

Mount Mercy in February announced Beatty would replace outgoing President Laurie Hamen, who left to return to Minnesota and be nearer some of her eight grandchildren.

Beatty began his duties July 1 — as the campus, like every other nationally, was in the throes of planning for an unprecedented fall semester amid COVID-19. Then in August, the historic and devastating derecho blasted Cedar Rapids and the Mount Mercy campus, causing it to delay its fall semester start and recalibrate some of its campus-use plans.

Beatty is a Cedar Rapids native who returned to the city from the University of Texas at Tyler, where he was dean of its Soules College of Business and a computer science professor.

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Earlier, Beatty had been a dean at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., and at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash.

In a statement in February, Rohde said, “Dr. Beatty is an entrepreneurial and progressive leader whose collaborative and inspirational leadership will build on the important work done by MMU’s faculty and staff. His commitment to the mission and values of Mount Mercy University and his ability to guide the institution through the complex and ever-changing higher education landscape is extensive.”

Beatty at that time said in a statement that, “Mount Mercy University is truly a special place.”

“Growing up in Cedar Rapids, I have long known the transformative education the university provides,” he said. “I am delighted to join the community of educators and scholars that is wholly dedicated to helping students achieve their personal dreams and professional ambitions.”

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