On Thursday, April 21, University of Tulsa President Steadman Upham announced plans to retire at the end of 2016 after 12 years at the helm.
“My wife, Peggy, and I believe this has been the most exciting and fulfilling chapter of our careers,” Upham said. “The collective talent and spirit of the TU family is like no other, and together we have accomplished more than I would ever have expected.”
Since arriving at TU from Claremont Graduate University in 2004, Upham has led transformative initiatives across campus, including the expansion of academic programs, research enterprise and the residential campus. The university has secured more than $750 million in new gifts during the past decade.
With Upham’s careful guidance, TU also has become a fixture among the U.S. News & World Report’s Top 100 national universities and now ranks in the Top 50 private universities. TU’s True Blue Neighbors program has resulted in hundreds of thousands of hours of community service by students, faculty, staff and alumni, and the partnership with Tulsa’s Gilcrease Museum has resulted in the construction of the Helmerich Center for American Research, a state-of-the-art facility to unlock the treasures of the Thomas Gilcrease collection and house the Bob Dylan Archive.
TU’s Board of Trustees has begun working on the selection process for the next president. Upham plans to take a sabbatical in 2017 before returning to the university as a member of the faculty.
In a Tulsa World editorial, Upham was praised for bringing stability and progress to the university. “We congratulate him on his retirement, wish him well in all his pursuits and are pleased that his plans call for him to return to Tulsa, a city that owes him a great deal,” wrote the paper’s editors.