Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – Former University of Miami President Edward “Tad” Foote II has died at age 78, the school announced Monday evening.

READ MORE: Broward Commissioner Dale Holness To Run For Late Rep. Alcee Hastings’ Congressional Seat

Foote was UM’s fourth president and the nation’s longest-serving president at a private university. He served from 1981 to 2001.

Newly appointed UM President Julio Frenk released a statement on Foote’s passing:

READ MORE: Wynwood Comes Alive On First Night Countywide Curfew Is Lifted

I am saddened to share that Edward T. Foote II, the fourth president of the University of Miami, passed away on February 15. Our community has lost a great civic and academic leader who not only led the positive transformation of our University, but also served as a voice of enlightened engagement for South Florida during especially challenging times.

President Foote’s tenure as president from 1981 to 2001 was marked by a far-reaching and rigorous pursuit of academic excellence that helped to distinguish our students and faculty among the finest in the nation. Together with his late wife, Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote, they made Miami their home, and we are a far better and stronger institution and community thanks to them.

MORE NEWS: Stimulus Check Update: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?

Please join me in expressing our deepest sympathies to President Foote’s family, his three children—Julia, William, and Thaddeus—and eight grandchildren. The University is planning a celebration of his life and legacy. In the meantime, I encourage you to learn more about his enduring impact on the University here.