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President V. Lane Rawlins announces retirement within a year, writes letter to UNT community
Below is a letter sent out to the university from President V. Lane Rawlins.
Dear UNT community,
In the past few weeks I came to the conclusion that it is the right time for me to step down from the UNT presidency. This has been a difficult decision because I love the work, my great colleagues, and most of all, the students. UNT is a special place, with an honorable and successful history and the possibility of moving ahead to even greater status and performance in the very near future.
Three years ago I knew almost nothing about the university or the community, and I came here with a plan to stay only a few months. As I learned more, I got very excited about the vision and opportunities at UNT, and when I was given the opportunity to stay around for a while, I accepted. I feel privileged to have this experience and to be able to work beyond my expected tenure. I am grateful to the faculty and staff for their tremendous support of UNT and our collective vision for the future. Most of all, I have enjoyed being engaged again with great students, watching them grow, and helping to provide the world-class education they deserve.
My decision was influenced by knowing that we are in a good position right now. The budget moves we made this year put us on level ground and the current legislative session and enrollment forecast promise some increases. The campus leadership is committed, skilled and devoted to UNT, so the university is in good hands. Our strategic plan and “four bold goals,” set a course for greatness that is ambitious, but within our reach. It seems to be a good time to attract a strong new president.
I have notified the UNT System Board of Regents of my intent to retire, and encouraged them to begin the search for a new president. I have agreed to remain president while they conduct a search and plan to stay until the arrival of my successor. I appreciate the support that the Board has given me during my tenure. They have graciously extended an offer for the status of “President Emeritus” upon my retirement, which will give me an opportunity to have an office on campus and to work on some special projects. This is not a paid position, but one from which I can stay involved.
I would like to assure all of you that this decision is not prompted by any special health concerns. I have the usual accumulation of physical issues of a person my age, but nothing that would keep me from an active life. It is more a matter of having a long list of unfinished projects, family needs, and long-term commitments to be pursued, and the university being in a position where I believe we can make a positive transition.
I plan to be in this position for several more months and to continue to be president in every respect. That means I will do all I can to advance UNT. Obviously, it is difficult to predict how long the search for a new president will take, but I imagine it will conclude by the end of the calendar year. I want to thank you for welcoming me here, working with me, and sharing your dreams with me. Mary Jo and I often comment about how easy it was to feel at home here and we are grateful for many new friends and associates. This has been one of the most satisfying and rewarding chapters in our lives. And while we certainly hope we were good for UNT, we know UNT has been good for us.
V. Lane Rawlins