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New University Of Akron President Spends His First Day Meeting Students

University of Akron students got an impromptu introduction to the school’s new president Tuesday. Gary Miller spent his first formal day on the job greeting students on campus at lunch.

It’s his first step in planning a new way forward for a school that’s been facing several challenges — including low enrollment and low faculty morale. But he says the university is "in transition," and touts its longevity.

“We’ve got some challenges, but we’ve got some opportunities," he said. "This university has been around 150 years, making promises to its students and its community, and keeping them. So we’ll figure out how to move forward.”

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Gary L. Miller started his tenure as the 18th president of the University of Akron by mingling in the student union at lunch Oct. 1. [Afi Scruggs / ideastream]

The University of Akron can build on its academics as well as its ties to the community, Miller says.

“We have some of the best music and arts programs in the country, and our STEM programs are very well known," he said. "We have the potential to really engage in this community at all levels, which I think we have an obligation to do.”

Now the 18th president of the school, Miller comes to Akron from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he was chancellor.

Miller replaces John Green, who served as interim president since 2018. The university's leadership has been in transition for several years, starting with the appointment of Scott Scarborough in 2014. He served a tumultuous two years before being forced out and replaced by the dean of Akron's college of law, Matthew Wilson. Wilson served two years before stepping down and returning to the law school, though he left the university this spring to become president of Missouri Western State University.

The university has been planning and executing a reorganization for the past several years, which included the elimination of several degree programs. Several other potential major changes were put on hold while the presidential search was completed.

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