Julius F. Nimmons, president of the University of the District of Columbia, announced his resignation yesterday after more than four years at the helm during which UDC was tossed by charges of financial mismanagement.
Announcing his resignation at a news conference, Mr. Nimmons said he had come to the decision after "much reflection over the events . . . of the past few years."
He said he had not come under any pressure to resign. "I have had a stressful yet fruitful term of office. The university is now poised for advancement, and I feel satisfied about offering my resignation now," he said.
Mr. Nimmons took over as the university's acting president in 1996 and was named president in 1998.
"I am proud of my record at the university," he said, reading his statement to the university's board of trustees. "I have entertained crisis upon crisis but am proud of the opportunities I have had to bring order where there was none."
Mr. Nimmons' resignation takes effect June 30, and the university is aiming to name the new president by July 1, said Charles J. Ogletree, chairman of the board of trustees. He added that the university would "look thoroughly and far" for the right candidate, and that the person selected would be "a representative of this community."
A transition team is being formed to head the search for the new president, which would start immediately, Mr. Ogletree said.
Mr. Nimmons will go on a year's sabbatical in July and is expected to then join the university's faculty as a distinguished professor of history.
In a prepared statement, Mayor Anthony A. Williams thanked Mr. Nimmons for his service to UDC "during its most difficult times" and praised him for maintaining the university's first-tier accreditation.
Mr. Williams reiterated his pledge to work closely with the trustees to achieve financial security for the university, including full funding from the city.
Mr. Ogletree praised Mr. Nimmons' "commitment" and said he had "helped the university through some of its most difficult times."
D.C. Council member Kevin Chavous, Ward 7 Democrat and chairman of the education committee, said Mr. Nimmons "brought stability to UDC in stress-filled times."
Mr. Chavous said he wanted to assure citizens of the District and members of the university that the university would "remain strong. This institution has a mission that transcends all of us," he said.
UDC had been plagued by reports of poor management for several years. An investigation by The Washington Times in September 1999 revealed that financial mismanagement by UDC officials had cost the school millions of dollars.
The Times also reported that UDC administrators did not break the school's lease on a building at 4250 Connecticut Ave. NW even though it was apparent the school's finances were in trouble and the rent vastly exceeded the market rate.
Yesterday, UDC students said they were surprised to hear that Mr. Nimmons had resigned.
"I am shocked," said Lisa Jean Pierre, a graduate student in English.
She said she had met Mr. Nimmons for the first time last week at a student advisory board meeting. "He seemed really cool. Like a really nice guy," Miss Pierre said.