UT President Ronald Vaughn Announces Plan to Retire

By Ella Malmgren and Isabella Troia

On March 24, The University of Tampa’s tenth President, Ronald L. Vaughn, announced that he will be retiring, after almost 30 years in the position. He will retire on May 31, 2024. 

He announced his plans for retirement with a video sent out to students the morning of the 24th. 

“Being the president of The University of Tampa has been the greatest honor of my life,” Vaughn said in the video. “And as I think about the success that we’ve had over the past 28 years, it’s most gratifying to see our graduates make a mark on the world, while making it a better place.”

Vaughn began his tenure as president on Jan. 1, 1995, but his history at UT dates back to 1984, when he held a position as coordinator of the marketing department. He was also the holder of the Max H. Hollingsworth Endowed Chair of American Enterprise. 

During his tenure, UT has grown tremendously, not only in physical size, but status as well.

The university’s campus has taken on over 70 projects since he took office, totaling almost $1 billion in value. Some notable projects include the Ferman Center of the Arts, The Graduate Health Studies Building, Palm Apartments, and many more. 

But the largest project he’s overseen at UT will be completed in 2024. The 460,000-square-foot multipurpose building will be located north of the Sykes College of Business, and will include a residence hall, a parking garage, faculty offices, and classrooms.

In terms of reputation, in 2012, UT was included in The Princeton Review’s list of best colleges. Additionally, UT consistently is ranked in the top tier by U.S. News & World Report for best regional universities in the South.

Dr. David Stern, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, is grateful for the efforts put forward by Vaughn throughout his leadership

“We have not just expanded our academic offerings, but have been able to elevate their quality, thanks to investments in hiring excellent faculty and staff, in the development of superb new classrooms, labs, and studios, and in the recruitment of students from across the country and around the world who choose UT as their educational destination,” Stern said, via email. “Best of all, there is every reason to think that President Vaughn has positioned us so these trends continue into the future”

In terms of next steps, the UT Board of Trustees, led by Chair Charlotte Baker, will commence their search for his successor, with guidance from a search committee. 

“As [the search] begins, I can assure you that the University is in a strong position, and will attract much to this future presidential leadership opportunity,” Vaughn said in his video.

Although he’s retiring, the president will continue to root for UT’s upward trajectory.

“My wife Renée and I look forward to watching The University of Tampa continue to achieve its mission and help students reach their dreams,” said Vaughn. 

Vaughn says he’s grateful to have been surrounded with amazing colleagues and peers, students, trustees, alumni, and countless friends during his tenure. 

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