CNU President Paul Trible to retire in August
Will remain as chancellor through 2022-23 academic year
Christopher Newport University President Paul S. Trible Jr. announced Friday he plans to retire as president next August. He will then serve as chancellor for the next academic year, and Adelia Thompson, university’s chief of staff and acting CEO, will be CNU’s interim president.
Trible, a former U.S. senator and member of the House of Representatives, was appointed CNU’s fifth president in 1996 and oversaw a significant expansion of the former commuter college to a prominent public liberal arts university, which is now celebrating its 60th year. During Trible’s tenure, the school’s endowment grew from $300,000 to $54 million, and its operating budget grew exponentially, as did enrollment, which increased from 2,920 full-time students in 1996 to 4,739 last year. CNU was ranked fourth among public regional universities in the South in the 2021 U.S. News & World Report rankings.
According to a news release from CNU, Trible informed the Board of Visitors that he wished to retire Aug. 1, having served 26 years as the Newport News university’s president. Thompson will serve as the school’s interim leader for the 2022-23 academic year, as she did during a six-month sabbatical taken in February by Trible to care for his wife, Rosemary Trible, who was ill. He returned to work in August. Rector Robert Hatten said Thompson will not be considered as a candidate for president during a national search to be launched in early 2022.
After Trible’s chancellorship ends in the summer of 2023, the new president will start, and Trible will serve on faculty as the Davis Professor of Leadership and American Studies or retire to his home on the Northern Neck, Hatten said.
In a video message to the university, the 74-year-old Trible said, “Time is racing by, and I don’t want to lose — for the second time in my life — the opportunity to spend time with the people I love the most in this world.” During his two children’s formative years, he added, “I was a young United States congressman and senator intent on saving the world, and I missed so many special moments with them and Rosemary. I don’t want that to happen again.”
Trible also oversaw more than $1 billion in capital construction at CNU, including more than 40 construction projects, and the campus grew from 100 acres to 260 acres. A graduate of Hampden-Sydney College and Washington & Lee University’s law school, Trible served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1983 as a Republican.
He was a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations in 1988 and a teaching fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.