Eugene M. Tobin, president of Hamilton College since 1993, has announced his resignation, which will become effective June 30, 2003. The announcement was made at the college's monthly faculty meeting on October 1.
The action comes 12 days after Tobin issued an apology to the campus community "for the omissions that resulted from the way I develop and present my speeches." The situation first came to light when a faculty member questioned the lack of attribution in the president's convocation speech on Sept. 1.
Stuart L. Scott, chairman of the Hamilton Board of Trustees, said the board accepted the resignation "with deep regret."
"Hamilton College has benefited enormously from President Tobin's leadership during the past nine years," Scott said. "In nearly every area, Hamilton is a stronger and more vibrant college today than it was when Gene Tobin took office in 1993. He believed that for the college to continue making the progress it has made during the past decade, he had to resign."
Scott said everyone, in the course of a career, has moments he wishes he could take back. "It's a tragedy that this flaw in the way the president prepares his speeches has led to this action. It's particularly tragic since Gene Tobin has been a great president for Hamilton, and the College has progressed greatly during his tenure."
In announcing his decision to the college community, Tobin said, "I have devoted 22 years of my life to Hamilton, the last nine as president. Because of my deep affection for this college and my unwavering support for its traditions and values, I have anguished over the embarrassment my speech-writing process has brought to our community. Ultimately, I concluded that it is in Hamilton's best interest that I step down as president."
"The Board has complete faith that the Hamilton community has the resilience to move quickly to keep the momentum we enjoyed prior to this incident," Scott said. "Despite this regrettable setback, the fundamental strength of the College – a challenging and demanding liberal arts education of the highest quality – remains unaffected."
Scott said the board will appoint a Presidential Search Committee in the coming weeks and begin a national search for President Tobin's successor.
Tobin was named the 18th president of Hamilton College in December 1993. He had served the previous five months as Hamilton's acting president and was dean of the faculty from 1988 to 1993.
A 1968 graduate of Rutgers University, Tobin received his master's degree in 1970 and his Ph.D. in 1972 from Brandeis University, both in the history of American civilization. Following a series of teaching appointments and a year as a National Endowment for the Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University, he joined the Hamilton faculty in 1980 as an assistant professor. Promoted to associate professor in 1983 and professor in 1988, he served as chair of the Department of History from 1986 to 1988 and was director of the American studies program from 1983 to 1988.
Tobin is a scholar of recent American political history. He has authored or edited three books and dozens of essays and articles on the period from the Progressive Era through the Cold War.