UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo Announces Retirement
By Office of Communication
Posted on June 19, 2012, June 19, 2012

President James D. Spaniolo announced today that he will retire from The University of Texas at Arlington, saying he will continue to lead the University until The University of Texas System Board of Regents completes a search for his successor.

"After careful thought, I have concluded it is the appropriate time to pass the baton and let others continue the stewardship of our remarkable institution," President Spaniolo said. "It has been the highest honor of my career to have served as president of UT Arlington for the past eight-and-a-half years, and I will devote myself in the months ahead to assuring a smooth transition in leadership."

Spaniolo, 66, made the announcement Monday in a "Message from the President" emailed to students, faculty, staff, and alumni, following meetings with his Executive Committee, Cabinet, and Deans Council.

UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa issued a statement expressing his gratitude for President Spaniolo's service. He indicated The UT System Board of Regents will begin the search for a successor who can continue the significant momentum created by President Spaniolo to make UT Arlington one of Texas' top-tier research institutions. He also said President Spaniolo will help ensure a smooth transition by continuing to serve as president until his successor is named.

"The UT System is honored to have had President Spaniolo's leadership for more than eight years. He has led significant transformations at the UT Arlington campus in teaching, research, student life, and athletics," Chancellor Cigarroa said. "I am extremely impressed with the quantum leaps UT Arlington has made under his direction in virtually every area of the institution. He has been a superb and collaborative president, and he has led his university with great integrity, vision, and creativity."

Under Spaniolo's leadership, UT Arlington has been transformed into a vibrant residential campus that forms the nucleus of a growing college town. From the beginning of his tenure, he established a spirit of collaboration that quickly extended throughout the University. He also forged collaborative partnerships with the City of Arlington and other institutions and organizations, both public and private.

Spaniolo's administration is widely credited for dramatically lifting and improving the profile of the University - boosting enrollment, increasing research expenditures, recruiting new faculty, assembling a strong executive team, strengthening the academic profile, leading the way in online and international education programs, and constructing major new facilities.

Perhaps the most visible evidence of his impact on the University and the community is the development of the College Park District, a 20-acre, mixed-use development that includes a new events center, a 4-acre park, a residence hall, student apartments, retail space and an 1,850-space parking facility. The centerpiece of the development is the College Park Center, an athletics and special events facility Spaniolo made a commitment to build early on in his administration.

He also spearheaded efforts to build the expansive Engineering Research Complex, which is anchored by the recently opened Engineering Research Building.

"President Spaniolo has been a magnificent leader of a very progressive effort at UT Arlington. He was ahead of the curve of most universities in augmenting the classroom experience with blended and online learning, successfully reaching out to more than 6,000 additional students," said Wm. Eugene "Gene" Powell, chairman of The UT System Board of Regents. "His ability to build the academic stature of UT Arlington and recruit and retain excellent faculty without requesting any undergraduate tuition increases this year is a testament to his excellent stewardship of resources. He has served with distinction, and the Board of Regents is grateful for his vision, leadership and collegial spirit."

Spaniolo took office as UT Arlington's seventh president in February 2004. Prior to that, he held positions as dean of Michigan State University's College of Communication Arts and Sciences, vice president and chief program officer for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and was a newspaper executive and attorney for The Miami Herald and Detroit Free Press.

Spaniolo earned his bachelor's degree from Michigan State University, a master's degree in public administration from The University of Michigan, and a juris doctor degree from The University of Michigan Law School.

Article and photo courtesy of UTArlington Magazine

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