University of Arkansas at Little Rock Chancellor Joel Anderson announced Wednesday he will retire next year. Anderson has been Chancellor since 2003 and at the university for the last 45 years.
He started as a political science professor and later became provost and vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. His retirement will take effect June 30, 2016. A press release sent out by the university says UA System President Donald Bobbitt will establish a search committee with the hopes of finding a replacement by then.
Speaking with KUAR at a campus event just hours before the official announcement, Anderson was asked about his legacy.
“I think that a person builds a legacy by doing a good job and that's what I have done. And I think a legacy is one of those things that as we're living and whatever our role in life may be we don't always have the option to say 'I'm going to make this my legacy.' I think that a person's legacy is something that probably emerges clearly after they're gone when people are looking back and can see the record that was. Then what the continuing legacy turns out to be is clear. But to say what your legacy is while you're still in the position is premature.”
As Chancellor of UALR, Anderson oversaw the creation of the Institute for Race and Ethnicity, a new partnership with eStem to establish a high school on campus and several construction projects. His retirement announcement comes after university enrollment showed gains after three years of declines.
In a memo sent out to the UALR campus community, Anderson commented on his reasons for retiring.
“To answer the inevitable question, why now? I think it should be sufficient to reply, after 45 years, why not? But more seriously, the time is right because the institution has growing momentum evidenced by the $20.3 million gift from the Windgate Charitable Foundation for an applied art and design building; the commitments by the city and state to improve University Avenue and make it safer and more attractive; the announced partnership with eStem Public Charter Schools to move the eStem high school to the UALR campus; and the turnaround in enrollment this fall. There will be more good news this year.”
KUAR is licensed to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.