C. E. “Doc” Cornutt stepped down this month as chair of the Board of Trustees after three years as chair and 21 years as a trustee.
Cornutt’s five-year term does not expire until February 2012, but he said his early resignation is in the best interest of the university and the board. He reiterated his excitement regarding the future of the university and the selection of Dr. Phil Schubert as president.
“I just felt it was time to move on with this next generation that’s going to make ACU what it is,” Cornutt said. “Sometimes it’s just time to pass the baton.”
Six other board members – the largest turnover since bylaws and policies were modified in 2007 – stepped down this month after reaching their 15-year term limits. Resigning members include Charles Ezzell, Randy Nicholson, Dr. Guy “Mojo” Lewis, Danny Phillips, Doug Smith and Melinda Worley.
Dr. Slade Sullivan, who serves as secretary of the board, said none of the six sought to step down but did so to help the board reach its goal of no more than 35 members by February 2011.
The timing of Cornutt’s resignation is not uncharacteristic of past board chairs. H. Lynn Packer resigned as board chair when the university selected Dr. Royce Money as president of the university in 1991.
Cornutt’s predecessor, Don Crisp, was an advocate of taking regular surveys of the board, and for the first time, in 2007, members indicated they thought the board was too large to function effectively. Crisp assembled a committee to overhaul the board. The committee’s plan included the dissolution of the senior board, an increase from two to four annual meetings, three-year term limits for trustees and five-year limits for board chairs.
“Over the past three years, we have really seen the board become more engaged,” Sullivan said. “The board has really improved its governance model in significant ways under his leadership.”
Four trustees will resign this August and four more in February 2011. But the university also selected two new members in February 2009 and will continue to add members in small numbers to ensure an unbroken cycle in the future.