Dennis McCabe’s long stint as Tarleton State University’s president will end next May.

Calling his tenure as TSU’s top official a “great opportunity … personally and professionally,” McCabe said he will step down, effective May 31, 2008, to return to the classroom to “finish my professional career.”

McCabe, who took over as TSU’s 14th president in 1991, said he’s proud of the university’s accomplishments over the past 16 years.

“We’ve had a lot of construction, a lot of growth, a lot of productivity,” McCabe said. “I’ve always tried to keep my eye on the ball, so to speak, and the ball has always been on students. We’ve always worked to create a culture of excellence for our students.”

Under McCabe’s leadership, more than 900 construction, renovation and rehabilitation projects have been completed, totaling more than $226 million.

Currently, two significant construction projects are underway - a $15 million student Recreational Sports Center and a new $13 million dining facility. Four major construction projects are also planned, including: a $27.3 million Nursing Building; a new $11.1 million Dairy Center; a $15.5 million Central Plant loop; and a $25 million campus for Tarleton-Central Texas in Killeen.

In an “Announcement from President McCabe” sent to Texas A&M System Chancellor Michael D. McKinney, along with TSU faculty staff and staff, McCabe said his decision to resign came “after much careful deliberation.”

Efforts to reach McKinney for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful.

“I have always wanted to return to the classroom to finish my professional career, and now I have decided the time has come,” McCabe said. “As I complete my last year as President, I look forward to pursuing my career goals in teaching and research and working more directly with students.”

With a change in presidents, McCabe said, “comes the opportunity and expectation of new ideas, new vision and new energy from the office of University President.”

“By giving the Board of Regents and the Chancellor a year’s notice of my intent, they, along with broad input from university personnel, alumni and friends, will have ample time to identify the 15th President of Tarleton State University,” McCabe said. “Having this lead time will allow for a smooth transition in campus leadership. In the meantime, you and I have the important job of ‘Creating a Culture of Excellence for our Students.’”

McCabe was named TSU’s 14th President by the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System on July 26, 1991. He originally joined Tarleton on August 17, 1988, as the Vice President for University Operations.

As Chief Executive Officer, McCabe supervises more than 1,000 employees, manages an $80.5 million annual budget, and provides vision for a comprehensive curriculum of 90 graduate and undergraduate degree programs. He is also responsible for a facilities inventory, which includes over 116 buildings, valued in excess of $100 million. He has over 35 years of experience in education as a teacher and an administrator.

Prior to his experience at Tarleton, McCabe served from 1984 to 1988 as Dean of the College of Education at Lamar University in Beaumont.

From 1976 to 1984, McCabe was head of the Department of Secondary and Higher Education at East Texas State University.

McCabe was at Pan American University at Edinburg from 1972 to 1976 employed as an assistant professor.

McCabe received his BA and MS Degrees from New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico. He received his doctorate in 1972 in Education Administration and Supervision from the University of New Mexico-Albuquerque.

McCabe is originally from Rio Hondo. He is married to Mary Louise (Martinez) McCabe. They have two sons, Brian and Timothy.

DOUG MYERS is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. He can be reached at doug.myers@empiretribune.com or (254) 965-3124, ext. 229.