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McArthur announces retirement as president of Cameron University

Cameron University President John McArthur plans to retire this summer.

“I have valued two decades of learning and growing at Cameron as a dean, vice president, provost and for 11 years as president,” McArthur said in making his announcement. “As much as I still enjoy working with, and for, the Cameron community, I plan to retire this summer. It is a privilege to serve this outstanding institution and to work with so many great employees and community members committed to the success of our students.”

McArthur’s retirement will be addressed by the University of Oklahoma, Rogers State University and Cameron University Board of Regents when it meets later this week. While his retirement will not formally be accepted until March, regents are expected to authorize the search process for a replacement at Friday's meeting.

“It is with the deepest admiration, thanks and best wishes for his future that the Board of Regents reluctantly accepts the retirement of President McArthur,” said board chair Natalie Shirley. “I have admired him as president since he stepped into the role. John’s thoughtful leadership has been an inspiration to me and the entire board.”

Since becoming president in July 2013, McArthur has supported the mission and core values of the university. Under his leadership:

• Student learning and student educational outcomes continued to expand and improve with a 164-percent increase in concurrent student participation including class offerings in public schools in Lawton, Cache, Elgin and many surrounding county schools; a 54-percent increase in online enrollment; the largest total number of degrees ever awarded by Cameron in May 2014 (1,244); an improvement in one-year persistence rates from 60 percent to 72 percent; and an improvement in graduation rates, including an increase from 14 percent to 34 percent for the bachelor’s degree seeking cohorts

• Academic opportunities expanded with seven new degree programs; six certificate programs; 29 micro-credentials; the addition of a student experiential portfolio to record service, awards and work experiences to complement the academic transcript; new support services such as the Office of Teaching and Learning for the first-year student experience and the Student Enrichment Center to provide academic coaching, financial literacy counseling, career mentoring, and internship placement; and new or updated facilities such as the Cameron Psychology Clinic, the Art Teaching Gallery, a tiered film and theatre classroom, music practice rooms, a gross anatomy laboratory, new greenhouses, renovation of Conwill Hall, the addition of an atrium and renovation of the McMahon Library as well as construction of science laboratories and an information resource center at CU-Duncan

• Institutional effectiveness was recognized through completion of two five-year strategic plans; a very successful reaffirmation of accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission in March 2021; multiple program accreditations in business, teacher education, music, respiratory care and radiologic technology; certification for interstate delivery of online education through the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement; and recognition as one of only 10 universities nationwide for the inaugural Excellence in Assessment designation in 2016 by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, followed by recognition in 2021 as one of five institutions with the designation of Sustained Excellence in Assessment

• Celebrated four Academic Festivals

• Added three new intercollegiate sports and significantly improved athletics facilities, including the Terry Bell Golf Center, a new floor and renovations of the Aggie Gym, lights and hitting cages for baseball and softball, and a new e-Sports arena and broadcasting space in the Academic Commons

• Maintained strong financial stewardship of student and state taxpayer resources with among the lowest costs of university attendance for tuition, fees, housing and board with consistently low levels of student debt while reducing university debt obligations by more than 50 percent

• Increased the balance of endowed funds by 50 percent while adding 12 endowed faculty positions and 88 endowed scholarships, including the largest single-year giving total to the CU Foundation in 2017.

Related to his future plans, McArthur offered, “It has been a privilege to serve this outstanding institution. I look forward to more time for travel and family as my spouse and I enter into retirement.”

Chairman Shirley indicated that the Board of Regents will initiate a search process to seek another outstanding leader for Cameron University.


PR# 24-006

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