Rhode Island College President Frank Sanchez will not seek another term leading the college when his contract expires later this year, according to two people directly familiar with the decision.
Sanchez is expected to inform his staff Thursday that he will be leaving the college later this year, setting off a search for a new president during an election year. A search committee is expected to be named next week.
“As I reflect on the remarkable work we have made together, and the next chapters in my life, this is a fitting time for the college and I to make these transitions,” Sanchez said in a message to RIC students and faculty. “The college is poised for not just a bright but a brilliant future as it builds new programs and broadens its reach to serve an increasingly diverse Rhode Island community.”
Sanchez said he plans to “pursue other options in service to higher education.” His contract expires June 30, 2022. He served two, three-year terms as president of RIC.
The move comes as RIC, one of the most affordable four-year degree colleges in New England, has faced declining student enrollment since 2015, before Sanchez arrived the college. The state’s decision to approve free tuition for in-state students at the two-year Community College of Rhode Island coupled with the pandemic have exacerbated the problem.
Still, Sanchez has excelled with fundraising since arriving at RIC in 2016, and he’s enjoyed a mostly positive relationship with faculty and students. Before coming to RIC, he was vice chancellor of student affairs at the City University of New York.
This report will be updated.