Father Robert Lawton, Loyola Marymount University’s 14th president, has announced his plan to resign after nearly 11 years at the helm of the Westchester campus.

Lawton, who submitted his resignation March 1st at the university’s quarterly board of trustee’s meeting, says two considerations factored into his decision to step down.

“One is my health,” Lawtonwrote in a letter to alumni and the LMU student body and faculty. “The recovery from my back operation has been slow and has affected my ability, because of my schedule, to do the physical activity and exercise advised and, more importantly, to do my job to the fullest.”

The other consideration is what Lawton called “the rule of ten,” which he said is typically the shelf life of many occupations.

“Ten years in these kinds of jobs is usually enough and after that, both the institution and the person benefit from change,” the former president explained. “At least that is true of me.

“I served as dean of Georgetown College for ten years and had originally intended to serve in this job for ten as well. I am now in my 11th.”

Executive Vice President and Provost David W. Burcham has been named LMU’s interim president and will serve during the search for a new president, university officials said.

Lawton said that he originally considered staying on through 2012, which is LMU’s centennial celebration.

“But our fundraising professionals are superb, and both Dave and I are sure my successor will be more than able to work with them to meet our ambitious goal of $380 million,” he said.

Burcham was named the dean of the university’s law school in 2000 and took on the role of provost in 2008.

Lawton thanked faculty, staff, students and alumni in his letter.

“To have worked and played with you in caring for this great university and the larger worlds it serves has been a grace indeed,” he said.

Lawton’s resignation is effective at the end of the academic year.

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