UT provost named as University of Akron president

Exit leaves yet another hole for trustees to fill

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    Scott Scarborough, the University of Toledo’s provost, was named Thursday as president of the University of Akron.

    Mr. Scarborough, 51, will become the 16th president of the University of Akron, replacing Luis Proenza, who is leaving his position in June. Mr. Scarborough will start July 1. The university chose him over other finalists, former Ohio State University football coach Jim Tressel and Ronald Nykiel of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

    “[Mr.] Scarborough clearly shares our vision for the University of Akron,” Akron board Chairman Richard W. Pogue said. “We have confidence that he will help us advance our mission as a public research university committed to our students’ success, to creating new models for sustaining academic excellence, and to our role as a vital contributor to the regional economy.”

    The step up for Mr. Scarborough now means UT’s top three officials have either left or announced their impending departure in a three-month span.

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    In February, Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor of the University of Toledo Medical Center, became head of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. A month later, UT President Lloyd Jacobs and the university announced that Dr. Jacobs would step down effective June 30, 2015, a year before his contract ends. Now, the university is losing its provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

    Joseph H. Zerbey IV, chairman of the UT Board of Trustees, said he had mixed emotions about the announcement. He called Mr. Scarborough a “terrific guy,” and said he would likely have been a top candidate to replace Dr. Jacobs.

    Both Dr. Gold and Mr. Scarborough got offers that were “logical next choices” for their careers, said Mr. Zerbey, who is also president and general manager of The Blade.

    “It’s just the nature of the beast, I guess,” Mr. Zerbey said of administrators leaving.

    Mr. Scarborough was not available for comment on Thursday, a UT spokesman said.

    Larry Burns, the UT’s vice president for external affairs, framed the departures as a positive.

    “I think it says a lot about the brand of the University of Toledo” that staff are being hired away, Mr. Burns said. “I think it’s very natural, and has nothing to do with wanting to leave UT, but to have additional opportunities for their own careers.”

    Both Dr. Gold and Mr. Scarborough were reluctant to leave, Mr. Zerbey said.

    The university will now have to find replacements for all three leaders, a situation that Mr. Zerbey acknowledged was a challenge.

    “But it’s also I think an opportunity to bring in new blood with new ideas and continue the great traditions of the university,” he said.

    Mr. Scarborough joined UT in 2008, initially as its chief financial officer. In 2011, he was named senior vice president and executive director the University of Toledo Medical Center. He was named to his current roles in 2012.

    His contract at Akron will be for five years, with an initial base salary of $450,000. He is eligible for an annual performance bonus of up to $80,000, and annual deferred compensation of $80,000.

    A university residence will be provided, and Mr. Scarborough will receive an automobile stipend and club memberships. Other terms will be formalized in an employment agreement.

    Mr. Scarborough has faced criticisms from some faculty at UT for a perceived focus on the business side of education, to the detriment of the university’s academics.

    Mr. Scarborough currently makes $389,000.

    Before joining UT, Mr. Scarborough was chief executive officer at the Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Co., vice president for business affairs at the University of Texas at Tyler, and executive vice president at DePaul University. Mr. Scarborough resigned from DePaul in 2007 after he was suspended for unspecified reasons.

    He received an accounting degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree from the University of Texas at Tyler, and a doctorate in strategic management from the University of Texas at Arlington.

    Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.