UNA President Dr. William G. Cale Jr. Announces Retirement After More Than Nine Years of Service, Leadership and Achievements

Mar. 6, 2014


By Terry Pace, Communications and Marketing

FLORENCE, Ala. – University of North Alabama President Dr. William G. Cale Jr. has announced his retirement after more than nine years of leadership, service and lasting achievements at the state-supported regional university.

A Philadelphia native, Cale became president of UNA on Jan. 15, 2005, four days after the university marked the 175th anniversary of its founding as LaGrange College in 1830. Cale came to UNA from Pennsylvania State University-Altoona, where he was chief executive officer and dean. He previously served as executive vice president for academic affairs at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

“My years as president of UNA have been, by far, the most fulfilling of my career,” Cale remarked shortly after making his decision public this week. “The entire campus community came together through some very challenging times to build what has become a premier university.”

During his years at UNA, Cale has presided over unprecedented academic development and physical growth, from the addition of several new bachelor’s and master’s-level degree programs, the awarding of national accreditations and the establishment of new student-support services to a long list of prestigious honors (most recently, UNA was named one of America’s “Great Colleges to Work For” in 2013 by the Chronicle of High Education), extensive renovations to existing facilities and the construction of several  large-scale capital projects that have enhanced and upgraded the campus landscape. In addition, UNA is moving toward the establishment of innovative new programs in integrative health and engineering technology.

“We exist for the students who enroll here,” Cale maintains, “and we exist to ensure that the future is better than the past through the ultimate success of these students.”   

Muscle Shoals banker and businessman Rodney Howard, who serves as president pro tempore of the UNA Board of Trustees, said Thursday that the board and President Cale have been discussing his possible retirement for several months.

“Dr. Cale eventually decided that the time was right for him, and we certainly wish him well in all his future endeavors,” Howard explained. “At this point his retirement officially takes effect July 1, but we’re hoping that he will agree to continue on in another capacity, for at least a few months, in order for us to ensure a smooth and easy transition. We’d be tickled to death if he would agree to do that.”

Howard added that Cale has been an effective, dedicated and inspirational leader for UNA through exciting times of growth and expansion as well as the more difficult days of economic downturns and drastic decreases in state funding.

“Dr. Cale came to this university when we were in a state of unrest,” Howard observed. “He brought the campus together and really accomplished a lot of great things that we can all be proud of for many years to come. It’s going to be a real challenge for us to be able to fill his shoes.”

Cale noted that he is proud of UNA’s accomplishments and teamwork during his presidency, including several recent construction projects that have allowed the university to broaden the scope and enhance the quality of its academic mission. A multi-faceted new Commons building officially opened to enthusiastic acclaim earlier this week, while a new, state-of-the-art Science and Technology Building is currently under construction and scheduled to open late in the year.

“The visible symbols of change such as the George Lindsey Theater, the Commons and the Science and Technology Building are only part of what has been transformational at UNA,” Cale remarked. “We are a vigorous academic community that has implemented standards of excellence for success among our faculty. In the long term it is the strength of the faculty that creates a great university, and we have made mighty strides to foster and support a truly outstanding faculty.”

Howard noted the UNA Board of Trustees will discuss the procedure and timetable for the search for a new president during its upcoming quarterly meeting at 11 a.m. Monday, March 17. Although details of the process are subject to board approval, he anticipates that the trustees will hire a presidential search consultant and form a search committee made up of UNA faculty, staff, trustees and representatives from the surrounding Shoals community.

“We want to make the search process as transparent and thorough as possible,” Howard stressed. “I think we’re probably talking about a period of four to six months or longer. I would say it’s possible that we might be able to make a selection by the second semester of the 2014-15 school year.”

Cale indicated that he would be willing and able to assist and support the board through the transitional period. He and his wife, B.J., plan to stay in the Shoals area and remain loyal supporters of the life and mission of UNA.

“While I know this choice to leave the presidency is what is right and best for me and my wife, it comes with very mixed emotions,” Cale concluded. “We do look forward in the near term to being actively engaged with UNA, and for the longer term to remain part of a community that loves and supports this wonderful university.”

A high-resolution photo of UNA President Dr. William G. Cale is available for media use on the UNA Gallery at:
http://www.unalionsden.com/archive/gallery.php?album_id=855&photo_id=7574