LOGAN - After weeks of speculation, it's official: Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College President Dr. Robert E. Gunter is stepping down and retiring.

On Thursday, Sept. 12, the SWVCTC Board of Governors held a special meeting regarding the issue, where they accepted Gunter's retirement following an executive session that lasted over an hour and 20 minutes. Gunter's retirement is effective immediately.

Gunter, who became the institution's president on Jan. 1, 2016, will remain in an advisory capacity to the Board of Governors until Jan. 3, 2020. The Board will launch a presidential search committee, chaired by Board Chair Dr. Lisa Haddox-Heston, in the coming weeks, and a search firm will be bid out.

In Gunter's place, the Board named Samuel Litteral, vice president for Finance and Administration at SWVCTC, as acting interim president, pending approval of the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education.

"The important work of this college goes on," Rita Roberson, SWVCTC vice president for Institutional Advancement and college spokesperson said in a press release. "We want to thank Dr. Gunter for his service to our college and our communities. Our priority has always been our students, and we will work to make this as seamless a transition as possible for them, and for everyone who works so hard for this college every day."

During the board meeting, members outlined the timeline and procedure for naming Gunter's replacement, and said they hope to have a new president in place by July 1, 2020.

Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196.