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UNT President Neal J. Smatresk Announces Resignation to Return to Teaching

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DENTON, TX — University of North Texas (UNT) President Neal J. Smatresk announced his decision to step down from his role on August 1, 2024, after ten years at the helm. Smatresk, who has led the university through a period of significant growth and transformation, expressed his desire to return to his first passion: teaching and mentoring students.

Under Smatresk’s leadership, UNT has seen a remarkable period of expansion, becoming one of the nation’s largest Tier One research universities. Enrollment surged from 36,000 to nearly 47,000 students by Fall 2023, and the university has conferred degrees on over 85,000 graduates, significantly impacting the workforce and economy.

Smatresk, who took office in February 2014, described his tenure as the pinnacle of his career, highlighting the collective efforts of faculty and staff in achieving unprecedented success. “We have flourished in ways that are nothing short of remarkable,” Smatresk stated in a message to the university community.

The university’s achievements under Smatresk include attaining and advancing its Carnegie Classification as a Tier One research university, reaching the highest rank among Tier One institutions in the North Texas region. UNT also gained recognition as a Hispanic- and Minority-Serving Institution and made significant strides in closing the minority graduation rate gap.

Several initiatives were launched to enhance affordability and support for students, including the UNT Food Pantry, the First-Generation Success Center, and the UNT One Stop. The university also expanded its career center offerings and opened a branch campus in Frisco, enhancing its connection with industry and creating more opportunities for students.

Smatresk’s tenure saw the creation of significant partnerships with notable entities, a surge in research funding to $86 million in FY 2023, and the approval of the Texas University Fund (TUF) by Texas voters, aimed at boosting research innovation and talent retention in the state.

Before his presidency at UNT, Smatresk served as president of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and held various academic positions at the University of Texas at Arlington. A respected biologist, he has published extensively in his field and holds degrees from Gettysburg College, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

UNT System Chancellor Michael R. Williams commended Smatresk for his contributions, stating, “He has created a strong foundation and legacy that will empower UNT to achieve great success in the years to come.”

As Smatresk prepares to transition back to his roots in academia, his legacy at UNT is marked by a decade of growth, innovation, and enhanced academic excellence.

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