University Of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart Retiring

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart is retiring, the university announced on Monday (Jan. 12).  His retirement becomes effective July 31.

Gearhart said in a statement he is retiring to spend more time with his four grandchildren.

Gearhart, 62, was vice chancellor for about a decade before becoming chancellor in July 2008. In his time as chancellor, the university topped 26,000 in student enrollment for the first time and saw a muti-million dollar boom in campus construction.

Gearhart has also faced controversy during that time.

He and other university officials were questioned by a Washington County prosecutor last year in an FBI investigation after $4.2 million was misappropriated out of the UA’s Advancement Division. The prosecutor’s office brought in an FBI specialist to assist in the investigation. The situation was investigated by the state Legislative Audit Committee. No criminal wrongdoing was established.

Gearhart also was criticized by legislators for weighing in prior to the vote late last year in Fayetteville on a proposed civil rights ordinance. Gearhart said the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce should have rescinded its opposition to Ordinance 119 because as an ex-officio member he was not allowed to vote on the matter. Some conservative lawmakers who opposed the ordinance said the university chancellor should not have gotten involved in the issue. Voters rejected the proposal in a special election in December.

Also, lawmakers said there was division between leaders at the Fayetteville campus and the Board of Trustees over funding the school’s eVersity program allowing students to take classes online.

Gearhart said he plans to take some time of, before going back to teaching at the university, according to a news release. Gearhart is a faculty member at the university’s College of Education and Health Professions.

To read the full letter of retirement, click here. Additional comments on his retirement can be seen here. 

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