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Published: March 24, 2023

UT President Vaughn Announces He Will Retire in 2024

Ronald L. Vaughn, who has led the transformation of The University of Tampa into a nationally known institution, has announced he will retire in 2024, after almost 30 years of serving as UT’s president.

"lt’s been the greatest honor of my life to lead this incredible University,” Vaughn said. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with so many dedicated and engaged people. We’ve made an impact on hundreds of thousands of students over the years.”

Vaughn’s announcement video was distributed to the UT community Friday morning, March 24.

Vaughn will remain as president through the next academic year while the UT Board of Trustees, led by Chair Charlotte Baker, hires his successor. A comprehensive, nationwide search will start immediately with guidance from a search committee.

"lt’s hard to think about UT without Ron Vaughn at the helm,” Baker said. “We can’t thank Ron and his wife Renée enough for their tireless work for the University. UT wouldn’t be what it is today without Ron Vaughn, and he has always had the best interest of the students, faculty and staff in mind as he has constantly strived for excellence in the entire educational experience.”

His retirement takes effect in May 2024, at the end of the next academic year.

“The University of Tampa has a strong educational foundation, that is attracting excellent students from all over the U.S. and world,” Vaughn said. “The University’s reputation has grown, and the physical campus has been transformed. I believe it’s a good time for the next leader to take over at this great University.”

Indeed, Vaughn has helped UT build a solid foundation for the future:

  • Full-time enrollments have more than quadrupled and the total enrollment will be almost 11,000 for Fall 2023.
  • Academic programs have been expanded to more than 200 areas of study.
  • UT’s annual budget has increased from $28 million to about $400 million.
  • UT’s campus has been transformed by over 70 projects totaling almost $1 billion in value.
  • UT’s annual economic impact, $85 million in 1995, is now estimated at $1.4 billion.

Also, UT’s reputation has soared during Vaughn’s tenure. UT is in The Princeton Review’s annual list of best colleges. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UT in the top tier of regional universities in the South. Also, UT has 18 accreditations or certifications.

“Ron Vaughn started out with a handful of old hand-me-down buildings, and transformed the campus into a dynamic, cutting-edge community that has some of the most innovative learning and living spaces in the country,” said James Eyer, vice chair of the UT Board of Trustees. “He truly is a visionary. UT was fortunate to find the right person at the right time to transform the University into a model, metropolitan institution with a high-quality academic experience that is very appealing to prospective students.”

As Vaughn and UT’s team has refined and continued to execute the University’s master plan, they have taken care to focus on the entire student. As an example, the new Susan and John Sykes Ars Sonora bell tower, next to the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values, provides a setting for students to reflect, gather and interact.

In addition to spearheading the campus expansion, Vaughn has fostered more community-based financial support than any UT president before him. Among many fundraising achievements, the University raised about $250 million in its first two comprehensive capital campaigns and has now received about $100 million in a third campaign.

Vaughn, 76, came to UT in August 1984 as coordinator of the marketing department and holder of the Max H. Hollingsworth Endowed Chair of American Enterprise. He subsequently served as director of the MBA program, dean of the College of Business and Graduate Studies, and co-chief academic officer.

Over the years, Vaughn has received over 40 awards and has been inducted into the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame. A few recent awards include: The Liberty Bell Award by the Hillsborough County Bar Association for outstanding service by a non-lawyer, Patrons of Culture and the Arts Impact Award (for both Renée and Ron Vaughn), and Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award by the Tampa Metro Civitan organization. 

View Vaughn’s announcement video, which was distributed to the UT community this morning.

For more information, visit the FAQs about Vaughn’s legacy and the presidential search webpage:

FAQs about Vaughn’s Legacy

Go to the president’s webpage.



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