William A. Staples has announced this will be his final year as president of University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL), a position he has held for more than 20 years. During his tenure, UHCL has reached major milestones and undergone considerable transformation, including going from an upper-level institution to a four-year university in 2014, and being ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the ‘Best Regional Universities in the West’ category (2016 and 2017).
“I am, of course, disappointed President Staples will no longer be providing the enlightened and effective leadership that has allowed UHCL to move steadily forward toward excellence during his remarkable 22-year tenure,” said UH System Chancellor Renu Khator. “But, on a personal level, I understand his desire to take a very well-deserved retirement from the position, and I am very happy for him in that regard. “
Staples is the fourth president of UHCL, which opened its doors in 1974. He joined the faculty in 1979 as an associate professor in the then-School of Business and Public Administration. He served as professor of marketing, program director, associate dean and dean of the school before becoming president of the university in 1995. In that time, the institution has achieved notable success in a number of areas:
- Began offering healthcare administration degree programs at the Texas Medical Center in 2004 and opened the Student Services and Classroom Building the same year;
- Received approval for first doctoral program (education leadership) in 2007 and launched its third doctoral program (psychology) this fall;
- Received the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education in 2009;
- Opened UHCL Pearland Campus in 2010 in a partnership with the city of Pearland;
- Transitioned to a four-year university in 2014;
- Increased number of endowments by 110 percent from 1999 to 2016;
- Graduates more than 2,000 students each academic year.
“I am very proud of what has been achieved at UHCL through the hard work of university faculty, staff and administration. These accomplishments will make the university a very attractive opportunity for the next president,” said Staples. “I applaud their work and commitment to excellence and for reaching major milestones in UHCL’s history.”
In addition to leading UHCL to academic excellence, Staples has also built vital partnerships. He has served a number of civic and higher education organizations, including serving on the board of trustees for the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) from 2009 to 2011. Staples and UHCL have received numerous accolades for community involvement. Staples was chosen as the recipient of the NASA Public Service Medal in 2003, and in 2008 he received the Quasar Award for Economic Development Excellence. UHCL is a five-time recipient of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for community engagement.
Staples leaves the position in August and has many exciting initiatives planned for his final academic year as president. The most significant new facility development in UHCL’s history will soon begin. UHCL capital projects that will break ground in 2016-17 include the STEM and Classroom Building, the Recreation and Wellness Center, the Police Building at UHCL and the Health Sciences and Classroom Building at UHCL Pearland Campus. UHCL is also seeking approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering, which will represent a major step forward for UHCL in undergraduate engineering education.
“I look forward to working with all of you in the year ahead to continue to advance UHCL as a four-year university that is dedicated to student success,” Staples wrote to the UHCL community in announcing his decision.
A search committee for President Staples’ replacement will be announced at a later date.