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President of Loyola Marymount University to step down, cites back surgery

March 3, 2010 |  6:07 pm

Father Robert B. Lawton, who has been president of Loyola Marymount University since 1999, has announced plans to retire in May, two years earlier than expected, and partly because of health problems. Lawton, 62, had back surgery last year and, in a letter to the campus this week, said his recovery has been slow and is affecting his ability to do his job.

Lawton, a Jesuit priest, also announced that he is taking immediate medical leave from heading the Catholic-affiliated university, which has about 8,872 students at its Westchester campus and downtown Los Angeles law school. But he also said he may be able to return to work at some point and if so, hopes to finish out his term through May.

The university‚Äôs provost, David W. Burcham, will lead the school during Lawton's medical leave and then through the following academic year as a search for a new president proceeds. A campus spokesperson said a new president would be named by May 2011.

Larry Gordon