Eastern’s Board of Regents elected a new president and vice president during the quarterly meeting Friday.

The board elected former Vice-Chair Craig Turner to succeed Board President Gary Abney. Ernie House was elected to take Turner’s position as vice chair.

Turner is also acting chairman for the Presidential Search and Screening Committee.

Abney sent a message to staff and students explaining the decision to change the presidency.

Abney said he felt maintaining a consistent chair president would promote a smoother process in the search for the new president of the university as Abney’s term with the board is set to expire on June 30.

“I believe it is in the best interest of EKU for the Board to elect a chair who is able to serve a complete one-year term, thereby removing any concerns or doubt a potential presidential candidate may have,” Abney said.

President Whitlock started the meeting by addressing Abney’s service as chair.

“I would be remiss if I did not start out this meeting by showing my appreciation to Gary Abney for his service to the university,” Whitlock said.

Elected Chair Turner expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve as president of the Board and addressed his appreciation for Abney’s service.

“I’ll do my best to fill your shoes,” Turner said. “Thank you for all you’ve done for the school over the years.”

Abney served three terms as Board president, first elected Jan. 25, 2010 and reelected for two consecutive terms. Abney was first appointed to the Board in 1999. In his letter Abney expresses appreciation for the opportunity to serve the Eastern community.

“Although I will not seek nomination for another term as Chair of the Board, I shall remain passionately committed and dedicated to EKU as a Regent for the remainder of my appointed term and as an alumnus and friend throughout the remainder of my life,” Abney said. “I shall always cherish the opportunity to have served as a Regent and as Chair of the EKU Board of Regents.”

“I wish us all the best as we move this university forward,” said Abney.