Jan. 19, 2011
Media Contact: Charlie Johnson, Vice President for University Relations, University of Central Oklahoma, (405) 974-2315, firstname.lastname@example.org
UCO PRESIDENT W. ROGER WEBB ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
W. Roger Webb today announced his retirement as president of the University of Central Oklahoma. His last day will be June 30, 2011.
"I am leaving at a time when the image, reputation of the university, and the capacity and depth of talented faculty, administration and staff of Central has never been higher," said Webb.
"The exciting thing is that Central's greatest days are just ahead. I have the greatest confidence in the Regional University System of Oklahoma Board of Regents to choose a successor who will lead Central to new heights of excellence."
Webb said he looks forward to spending more time with his daughter Anna Grace and his wife Jeanie, and upon retirement, has the opportunity to accept an executive position with Citizens Bank of Edmond.
"Over the holidays, Jeanie and I together decided that now is the time for me to step down. We love Central and have so many wonderful friends and colleagues here. This has not been an easy decision," added Webb.
Since becoming Central's 19th president in 1997, Webb has led the university through some of its greatest years of growth and development.
Webb articulated and implemented a vision for the institution that has led to record enrollment of more than 17,000 and national recognition. Today, Central is the state's third largest university with premier academic programs in forensic science, the arts, journalism, accounting, teacher education and more, leading to a reputation as one of the most innovative institutions of higher learning in the region.
Among Webb's other recent notable accomplishments at Central are the creation of the Academy of Contemporary Music at UCO, the only industry-based music education program of its kind in the country; the establishment of the UCO Forensic Science Institute; the opening of the UCO Jazz Lab, a popular performance venue, classroom and recording studio; partnering with the U.S. Olympic Committee to designate Central as an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site; and encouraging sustainable practices and beautification efforts that have won national awards. Last year, the Chronicle of Higher Education voted Central as one of the great colleges to work for.
During Webb's tenure at Central, the campus transformed from mostly a commuter college to a beautiful, vibrant campus with a first-class housing program.
Also new to Central under Webb's leadership is the UCO Wellness Center; a completely renovated Wantland Stadium; and the recently opened Center for Transformative Learning.
Webb has led the development of several other new initiatives at Central, including the addition of the College of Fine Arts and Design, the Broadway Tonight series, the UCO School of Music, and the School of Criminal Justice.
Webb's professional career began in law enforcement, where he served 12 years with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and as Commissioner of Public Safety for the State of Oklahoma from 1974-78. During that time, Webb was elected to the Board of Directors for the International Association of Chiefs of Police and chaired a national task force studying the threat of terrorism in large stadiums and sports arenas and on our nation's energy pipelines. Given that experience, Webb has been a national voice on campus safety, preparedness and violence prevention during his time at Central. As such, he was called upon to testify before the U.S. Senate in 2007 following the Virginia Tech University shootings.
Under Webb's leadership, Central also organized and held the first national campus security summit following the shootings, with college and university representatives attending from throughout the United States. In 2009, Webb was selected to the inaugural class of the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame.
Webb entered higher education in 1978, when he was named President of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., a position he held until his current appointment at Central, making him the state's longest serving university president. In 2008, NSU honored Webb with an honorary doctorate in optometry for his role in establishing the College of Optometry at the university in 1979.
Among his involvement with other organizations, Webb is a member of the Board of Directors for the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation Board, the Integris Hospital Board and Creative Oklahoma.
In 2009, Webb was honored with the Governor's Arts Award, named Edmond's Citizen of the Year and also named Oklahoma State University Distinguished Alumni. Other honors include being named to the Oklahoma Education Hall of Fame.
A native of eastern Oklahoma, Webb graduated from Heavener High School and received a bachelor's degree from Oklahoma State University. Webb holds a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.
Editor's Note: Download art to accompany this release at www.uco.edu/photo/Webb.
Cutline: University of Central Oklahoma President W. Roger Webb announced today his retirement from his position at the university. His last day will be June 30, 2011. Webb is the state's longest serving university president, serving first as president of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., until joining Central in 1997.