Online Exclusive: UCO President Roger Webb Announces Retirement
W. Roger Webb announced his
retirement as president of the University of Central Oklahoma. His last day
will be June 30, 2011. “I am leaving at a time when the image, reputation
of the university, and the capacity and depth of talented faculty,
administration and staff of Central has never been higher,” said Webb.
“The exciting thing is that Central’s greatest days are just ahead. I have
the greatest confidence in the Regional University System of Oklahoma Board of
Regents to choose a successor who will lead Central to new heights of
Webb said he looks forward to spending more time with his
daughter Anna Grace and his wife Jeanie, and upon retirement, has the
opportunity to accept an executive position with Citizens Bank of Edmond.
“Over the holidays, Jeanie and I together decided that now is the time for
me to step down. We love Central and have so many wonderful friends and
colleagues here. This has not been an easy decision,” added Webb.
Since becoming Central’s 19th president in 1997, Webb has
led the university through some of its greatest years of growth and
Webb articulated and implemented a vision for the
institution that has led to record enrollment of more than 17,000 and national
recognition. Today, Central is the state’s third largest university with
premier academic programs in forensic science, the arts, journalism,
accounting, teacher education and more, leading to a reputation as one of the
most innovative institutions of higher learning in the region.
Among Webb’s other recent notable accomplishments at
Central are the creation of the Academy of Contemporary Music at UCO, the only
industry-based music education program of its kind in the country; the
establishment of the UCO Forensic Science Institute; the opening of the UCO
Jazz Lab, a popular performance venue, classroom and recording studio;
partnering with the U.S. Olympic Committee to designate Central as an official
U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site; and encouraging sustainable
practices and beautification efforts that have won national awards. Last year,
the Chronicle of Higher Education voted Central as one of the great colleges to
During Webb’s tenure at Central, the campus transformed
from mostly a commuter college to a beautiful, vibrant campus with a
first-class housing program. Also new to
Central under Webb’s leadership is the UCO Wellness
Center; a completely renovated Wantland Stadium; and the recently opened Center
for Transformative Learning.
Webb has led the development of several other new
initiatives at Central, including the addition of the College of Fine Arts and
Design, the Broadway Tonight series, the UCO School of Music, and the School of
Webb’s professional career began in law enforcement,
where he served 12 years with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and as
Commissioner of Public Safety for the State of Oklahoma from 1974-78. During
that time, Webb was elected to the Board of Directors for
the International Association of Chiefs of Police and chaired a national task
force studying the threat of terrorism in large stadiums and sports arenas and
on our nation’s energy pipelines. Given that experience, Webb
has been a national voice on campus safety, preparedness and violence
prevention during his time at Central. As such, he was called upon to testify
before the U.S. Senate in 2007 following the Virginia Tech University
Under Webb’s leadership, Central also organized and held
the first national campus security summit following the shootings, with college
and university representatives attending from throughout the United States. In
2009, Webb was selected to the inaugural class of the
Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame.
Webb entered higher education in 1978, when he was named
President of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., a position he
held until his current appointment at Central, making him the state’s longest
serving university president. In 2008, NSU honored Webb
with an honorary doctorate in optometry for his role in establishing the
College of Optometry at the university in 1979.
Among his involvement with other organizations, Webb is a
member of the Board of Directors for the Memorial Institute for the Prevention
of Terrorism (MIPT), the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation Board, the Integris
Hospital Board and Creative Oklahoma.
In 2009, Webb was honored with the Governor’s Arts Award,
named Edmond’s Citizen of the Year and also named Oklahoma State University
Distinguished Alumni. Other honors include being named to the Oklahoma
Education Hall of Fame.
A native of eastern Oklahoma, Webb graduated from
Heavener High School and received a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State
University. Webb holds a Juris Doctorate degree from the
University of Oklahoma College of Law.