University of Tampa President Ronald L. Vaughn will retire at the end of the 2023-24 school year after nearly 30 years at the helm of Tampa Bay’s largest private university, according to a Friday announcement from the school.
Vaughn, 76, began his tenure as president in 1995, when the university was “languishing both financially and academically,” according to the release. The student body had dwindled to 1,500 and the buildings on the small Tampa campus badly needed repair.
Under his leadership, the school’s full-time enrollments more than quadrupled to nearly 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members increased from 150 to 900, and the school’s operating revenue went from $28 million to $400 million.
During that time, UT’s campus underwent nearly $1 billion in capital projects, including the erection of the Vaughn Center, named in the president’s honor, which serves as the “hub of student life and activity” on the school’s campus, according to the UT website.
UT’s national reputation reflected those improvements, according to the release. In 2012, Vaughn helped secure UT’s place in The Princeton Review’s annual list of best colleges. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school at 21 for best regional universities in the South.
“lt’s hard to think about UT without Ron Vaughn at the helm,” UT board of trustees chairperson Charlotte Baker said. ”UT wouldn’t be what it is today without Ron Vaughn, and he has always had the best interest of the students, faculty and staff in mind as he has constantly strived for excellence in the entire educational experience.”
Vaughn came to UT in August 1984 as coordinator of the marketing department and holder of the Max H. Hollingsworth Endowed Chair of American Enterprise, according to the release. He then served as director of the MBA program, dean of the College of Business and Graduate Studies, and co-chief academic officer before taking the role of president in January 1995.
Vaughn will remain active as president through the next academic year as the school conducts a nationwide search for his successor.
“lt’s been the greatest honor of my life to lead this incredible University. I’ve had the pleasure of working with so many dedicated and engaged people. We’ve made an impact on hundreds of thousands of students over the years,” Vaughn said. “My wife Renée and I look forward to watching The University of Tampa continue to achieve its mission and help students reach their dreams.”
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