November 14, 2007
07-166

Thressea Boyd
Director of Communications

President Zaccari announces his plans for retirement

Valdosta - Ronald M. Zaccari announced today that he will retire June 30, 2008, completing six and half years as president of Valdosta State University. Zaccari, 70 years of age, contemplated a projected retirement in December 2008; however, he has opted to conclude his appointment six months earlier. In 2008, Zaccari will mark 31 years in higher education administration.

Zaccari stated his decision will permit the University System of Georgia to begin an earlier search process and select a new president prior to the opening of fall semester 2008 and initiate a more fluid transition.

“When I interviewed for the VSU presidency in November and December of 2001, a commitment was given to the Chancellor and Board of Regents that I would remain a minimum of five years,” Zaccari said. “With that commitment now fulfilled, Nancy and I look forward to personal time and retirement goals.”

“It is time to refocus my career as a visual artist and complete several commissioned sculptures. I plan to devote more energy to creative activities, family, and travel,” Zaccari said. “The past six years have been professionally rewarding, especially working closely with the campus and local community to plan VSU’s future growth”.

Zaccari became VSU’s seventh president on January 7, 2002, and during his first presentation to the campus community he spoke of the university’s projected transformation and outlined a five step process that would blend diverse but strategically related components including strategic, master, facilities, budget, and external plans. He further stated that the transformation at VSU would be pervasive and affect all divisions within the institution.

The planning process has served as a catalyst for growth that includes an increased enrollment of almost 14 percent - from 9,900 students in 2002 to 11,279 students in fall 2007 and approximately $261 million in capital construction projects.

Following eighteen months of work with external consultants and campus and community leaders, VSU’s ten-year master plan was accepted by the Board of Regents in May 2004. Phase I, a $36 million infusion of new and renovated residence halls was completed in 2006. Phase II, now underway, will bring major changes to the main campus, including additional residence halls, parking facilities, a new student union, and student health center. Phase II will expand VSU’s north campus with academic, residence halls, and food service facilities. The north campus projects are scheduled to begin in July 2011, thereby completing the comprehensive ten-year plan that covers 2004-2014.

“VSU has a bright future due to the strong support of the faculty, staff, students, and community leaders,” Zaccari said. “I thank everyone for rallying behind the necessity of change in contemporary higher education and assisting with the development of VSU’s master plan.”

During Zaccari’s tenure, VSU has received numerous state and national awards including five Best Practice Awards from the University System of Georgia, two Best Practice Awards from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Christa McAuliffe Award in 2004.

Zaccari is a member of the AASCU Board of Directors and served on the Commission on Public University Renewal (2005-2006), which identified the core commitments of public universities and how they might be renewed to meet current and future challenges within American higher education.

In March 2007, Zaccari received the Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation Stewardship, presented by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in recognition of his significant leadership and achievement in historic preservation as it relates to state-owned or administered properties or projects.

“I am announcing retirement plans prior to the conclusion of the fall term and in unison with timelines to begin the search for the next president. The early announcement will permit necessary and sequential steps leading to the selection and appointment of my successor,” Zaccari said. “The campus will be better served by having the selected president in office beginning July 1, 2008, thereby affording the opportunity to participate in the opening of a new academic year.”

Zaccari plans to outline specific transition plans and updates during his scheduled Spring Convocation address on Friday, January 4, 2008, at 10 a.m., in Whitehead Auditorium.