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NORFOLK-The president of Eastern Virginia Medical in Norfolk is stepping down after eight years.

Harry T. Lester said Thursday his last day will be April 15.

Lester leaves the school, which he calls 'a critical community asset,' on the strongest financial and educational footing in its 40-year history, EVMS officials said.

'I told the Board that I would stay as long as they need me that, when I had done what I can do, I'd leave the Presidency. I've accomplished the things that I set out to do on behalf of EVMS,' Lester said in a news release.

He had served as rector before taking the job as president in 2005.

EVMS says Lester's departure won't affect discussions about partnerships between the school and the College of William & Mary, to include whether it should become W&M's School of Medicine.

'We're still early in the process of exploring our relationship with W&M,' EVMS spokesman Dan Shuman told WVEC.com. 'In the near-term, he plans to work with state leaders to secure funding for a study of potential areas of partnership between EVMS and W&M.'

As for what Lester will do next, he said he hadn't decided, adding he's not ready to stop working yet.

EVMS announced that Richard V. Homan, MD, will be the new president. He also will continue to serve as provost and dean.

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