Vice President for Administration Gary North will retire on Aug. 31 after 15 years of service to Ohio University. He arrived in 1989 after successful stints at the University of Illinois and Michigan State University. The Outlook staff decided to ask North a few parting questions.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced?
North: Some of my biggest challenges were keeping up with the scope and complexity of the area I administer and giving adequate time and support to my staff's needs. Another challenge was the constant battle for resources and the loss of fiscal support from the state over the past five years.
What are some of the things you are most proud of?
I'm proud of the outstanding administrative staff in my area and on campus. I'm proud of their loyalty to the University and their cooperation and support. I appreciate the opportunity I had to work with Dr. Ping and Dr. Glidden, two great educational leaders and all-around good people. I'm proud of the relationships I developed with working (union and classified) employees and feel strongly about the value, commitment, quality and contribution of union and clerical staff. I have appreciated the "all for one-one for all" approach of University leaders toward working people. We are "interdependent" and that relationship should be maintained as an ongoing goal with all employee groups. Another positive is the strong service orientation of our staff in supporting "teaching and learning" through assistance to students, faculty and fellow staff.
I'm proud of the extensive impact made during the past 15 years on the physical campus, especially the new buildings and renovations. The attractiveness of the campus and how well the grounds department has maintained it during difficult times has been exceptional. Another bright spot has been all of the technological advances we have made, especially adding the computers in residence halls.
What are some of the significant changes you have witnessed during your tenure?
One of the things I have noticed is the decline in activism among students and the local community. I also witnessed the growing division between the University and some internal and external groups who see the institution as a threat. On a positive note, I have noticed the continuous improvement in the quality of students and the teaching and learning process, as well as the ongoing loyalty and support of alums and donors. Research has also made great advances under Jack Bantle's leadership.
What are your plans for retirement?
My wife Marty and I plan to remain in Athens and I will teach classes for the College of Education and do consultant work on the side. I also plan on becoming more involved in community activities. Overall, I want to say that it has truly been a pleasure to spend my last 15 years in Athens and at Ohio University. I will miss all of my colleagues.
A retirement reception will be held for North on Friday, Sept. 17, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the 1804 Lounge in Baker University Center.