By Caroline Bleakley, Senior Online Editor - email
Neal Smatresk Photo Courtesy: UNLV
LAS VEGAS -- UNLV president Neal Smatresk announced Wednesday that he will be leaving UNLV to be the new president of the University of North Texas.
Smatresk was named the sole finalist for the job at UNT. Under Texas law, there is a 21-day period before UNT regents can vote to appoint him. UNT underwent a nationwide search before settling on Smatresk.
In a letter to the UNLV community, Smatresk wrote it is a bittersweet moment for him and that he will miss the faculty, staff, students and community. He said the motivation for his move was to be closer to his two children and a grandchild.
"That part of me is happy for him to know he's going to a place his family is located," said Dan Klaich, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education.
He admits he is losing an aggressive champion for UNLV.
Smatresk was appointed as president of UNLV on Aug. 6, 2009 after serving two years as executive vice president and provost. He was the 9th president at UNLV and his contract was recently renewed for four more years.
Smatresk is credited with helping the university raise a record-breaking $537 million. Some of that money helps support the largest scholarship program in UNLV's history. This past year the university had record enrollment for freshmen.
"He started a lot of things we intend to move forward," said John Valery White, UNLV provost.
Smatresk, a biologist, is a native of Texas and began his educational career at University of Texas.
"Being part of UNT as it grows in reputation to one of our nation's top universities in research, scholarship and the arts is an incredible opportunity. I thank the search advisory committee and Chancellor Lee Jackson for their confidence in me. I look forward to being part of the university family and working with everyone to make UNT the best it can be," Smatresk said.
A nationwide search is underway for a new president for UNLV.
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