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Mid-Continent revokes Imhoffs' honorary degrees

BY LAUREN P. DUNCAN lduncan@paducahsun.com

MAYFIELD- The Mid-Continent University Board of Trustees has rescinded the honorary degrees previously awarded to ousted school leaders Robert and Jackie Imhoff.

Board chairman Tom Butler said Wednesday that the board unanimously voted Tuesday night to revoke honorary doctorates given to Robert Imhoff, the former MCU president, and his wife Jackie, who was vice president of adult services.

Butler said not all trustees were present at Tuesday's board meeting, but at least 14 were present to provide a quorum.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Robert Imhoff voiced little reaction to the board's action.

"They're free to take whatever actions they want to," he told the Sun without further comment. 

The Imhoffs were at the helm of the university when the school failed on multiple occasions to submit proper financial aid paperwork to the U.S. Department of Education.

As a result, the DOE halted the school's financial aid this spring, which led to the board's April decision to close the Southern Baptist college. All classes ended by June 30.

The school served about 2,000 students.

Robert Imhoff, who started as MCU's president in 2000, was awarded an honorary doctorate degree of divinity in 2001.

Jackie Imhoff, who led the school's Advantage program serving mostly adult learners, was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 2011 by the MCU board. 

A news release announcing Jackie Imhoff's honorary degree in 2011 stated: "Mid-Continent University is privileged to honor a history of excellence and service by individuals with long records of achievements in serving others.

Jacquelyn Faye Imhoff epitomized the best of what an educator ought to be."

On Feb. 24, Robert Imhoff left his position as president.

The following day, Jackie Imhoff stepped down. Both remained on the university's payroll.

At an April meeting, the MCU board unanimously voted to dismiss both Imhoffs. 

During some of the Imhoffs' years at MCU, each received salary increases of more than $30,000.

In 2001, Jackie Imhoff's salary was listed at $57,000 and Robert Imhoff's salary was $100,000. In 2010, Jackie Imhoff earned $220,157, and Robert Imhoff received $267,500.

In March, the Imhoffs began moving out of their on-campus home. Robert Imhoff said the couple planned to retire to Florida. Property the Imhoffs owned in Graves County was sold earlier this summer, and property they owned on Lake Barkley near Cadiz was auctioned last weekend. The couple now resides in Sun City, Florida.

The MCU board  has continued to meet despite the end of classes because the institution has unresolved issues such as the future of the campus and the status of student debts.

Following the board's more than four-hour meeting Tuesday evening, Butler said the board spent much of its time focusing on the future uses of the campus.

He said there are some "options in the pipeline, but right now there is nothing concrete."

Contact Lauren Duncan, Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8692 or follow @laurenpduncan on Twitter.

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