Dear UH System Colleagues -
With mixed feelings, I must announce that William A. Staples, president of the University of Houston-Clear Lake, has decided that this will be his final year in that position. He will retire from the presidency in August 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. But, on a personal level, I understand his desire to leave the role, and I am very happy for him in that regard.
President Staples will leave behind an astonishing legacy.
Under his visionary direction, UHCL became active in the Texas Medical Center with its healthcare administration programs in 2004, launched its first doctoral program, an Ed.D., in 2007, opened the UHCL Pearland Campus in 2010 and, most notably, successfully expanded into a four-year university in 2014.
During this time, UHCL has more than doubled its number of endowments, from fewer than 75 in 1999 to 158 in 2016 – a clear reflection of the burgeoning support from the university’s donors and community partners. And, for the first time, UHCL was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the 2016 Best Regional Universities in the West, with a No. 81 ranking, and just received notice that it will move up to No. 74 in the 2017 rankings.
While UHCL’s many accomplishments have been the result of the entire campus community working together, President Staples’ enthusiastic guidance has led the way. And it has not gone unnoticed, with awards from NASA, the YMCA, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership and the Clear Creek Education Foundation, among others. He has worked tirelessly to encourage community engagement, serving on the boards of numerous local organizations, including the Armand Bayou Nature Center and the Pearland Chamber of Commerce Community Council.
He has also contributed to the greater good of higher education by serving on the board of trustees for the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) from 2009 to 2011 and, in 2009, served as chair of the board of trustees for SACS following his service as vice chair in 2008. In addition, he was a member of the executive committees of the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities, the Texas Council of Public University Presidents and Chancellors, and the Texas International Education Consortium.
I also note with particular pride that President Staples is one of our own Cougar success stories, having earned his Ph.D. in business administration at UH in 1977.
President Staples’ departure from the presidency will be a great loss for UHCL, for the community in general and for our entire UH System. Obviously, finding a replacement will be a considerable task – so we are going to start as soon as possible and I plan to name a search committee this semester. Fortunately, President Staples has transformed UHCL into such a notable success that it will be a very attractive opportunity for his possible successors. That’s a tribute to this outstanding administrator and admirable individual.
We salute you, President Staples.
With warm regards,