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President Harry Lester to leave EVMS April 15

Story Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2013 10:01:00 EST

Harry T. Lester announced today that he will conclude his time at EVMS on April 15, 2013. His successor as the school’s chief executive is Richard V. Homan, MD, who will continue to serve as EVMS’ Provost and Dean.

Mr. Lester’s tenure has been marked by growth throughout the institution, and he leaves the school on the strongest financial and educational footing in its 40-year history. Prior to his departure, he will focus on fundraising and legislative issues as Dr. Homan begins to assume responsibilities of his new position.

“We owe Harry a debt of gratitude for stepping into a leadership role for the medical school and serving as a capable steward of this outstanding community resource,” said Anne Shumadine, Rector of the EVMS Board of Visitors.

Mr. Lester served as Rector prior to assuming the role of president in 2005 after his predecessor’s departure, initially accepting the job on an interim basis before agreeing to stay on long-term. Only one of the other six presidents in school history served for a greater length of time. 

“I told the Board that I would stay as long as they need me — that, when I had done what I can do, I’d leave the Presidency. I’ve accomplished the things that I set out to do on behalf of EVMS,” Mr. Lester said. “We have a highly qualified person currently serving as our Provost and Dean of Medicine, and it’s time to begin the transition to the next generation of leadership at EVMS.”

Over the past eight years, his leadership has resulted in:

  • Additional annual state funding for the school, which for the first time brings EVMS on par with the state’s educational program funding for other Virginia medical schools
  • Increased financial support from the community and EVMS’ teaching-hospital partners
  • Increased public awareness, understanding and appreciation of how important an academic health center is to a community, by communicating who and what EVMS is — a vehicle for cutting-edge research and the source of high-quality health care for Hampton Roads’ citizens
  • Improved clinical care for the community through the addition of world-class faculty
  • The first capital funding EVMS ever received from the state, in the form of $59 million for the construction of the Education and Research Building and renovations to Lewis Hall
  • Adoption of EVMS’ first comprehensive strategic plan, which focuses the school’s efforts on benefitting the community it serves
  • The overwhelming success of the recently concluded 20 Twenty Capital Campaign
  • Renovation of nearly all campus facilities, recruitment of nationally known researchers and acquisition of leading-edge technologies.

“I believe EVMS is a critical community asset,” he said. “It has been a pleasure to work on behalf of the school to improve the health of Hampton Roads. And, most of all, it has been an honor to work with the caring and talented faculty, staff and students of EVMS. We have accomplished much together. I am humbled by their commitment to serving the community and have learned much from them during my time here.”

Before and during his time at EVMS, Mr. Lester has remained deeply involved in causes and organizations throughout the region — such as the Chrysler Museum of Art, Lynnhaven River Now, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. While he is leaving EVMS, Mr. Lester plans to find ways to continue making positive contributions to Hampton Roads.

“I have not decided on what challenge I will tackle next," he said, "but I’m not ready to stop working yet.”