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Swygert steps down from BOT

Charter USF Board of Trustees member Patrick Swygert resigned from his post Oct. 22, according to a Monday e-mail from USF media relations director Michael Reich.

Reich’s e-mail said the reason for the departure is that Swygert wants to devote more time to his duties as chairman of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Capital Financing Advisory Board as well as his position on the Brown v. Board of Education Commemoration Commission, to which he was appointed by President George W. Bush.

Educated in the field of law, Swygert joined the faculty of Temple University in 1972. He worked his way through several positions before earning the title of executive vice president in 1987.

Following his time at Temple, Swygert took positions as president of the University of Albany and the State University of New York before taking over the presidential role at Howard University. In the summer of 2001, Swygert was named to the USF BOT.

Reich’s e-mail said USF President Judy Genshaft received Swygert’s letter of resignation today. According to the e-mail, Genshaft said she wishes Swygert the best and remains grateful for his contributions.

“He has been a tremendous advocate for USF, and his support and counsel have helped advance USF as a national research university,” Genshaft said in the statement.

Swygert was the board’s only African-American member. His departure leaves a void on a board that has been widely criticized for being too white and too conservative.

Last year, Swygert issued the only dissenting vote in the Board’s ultimate decision to pursue the termination of controversial USF professor Sami Al-Arian.

Swygert’s replacement will be appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush, but the entire board may be re-appointed if Democratic opponent Bill McBride wins next week’s gubernatorial election.