Special E-T Report

The No. 2-ranking official at Tarleton State University is retiring.

Tarleton State University provost and vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Gary Peer, plans to retire beginning Aug. 1, 2007.

Since joining the Tarleton administration in 2001, Peer has carried the responsibility of chief academic officer, overseeing the operation of academic programs and focusing on the development of academic priorities; academic budgets; and the creation of new curriculum and degrees.

“On behalf of the university family, I want to wish Dr. Peer the very best in his decision to step down as provost and vice president for academic affairs,” said Tarleton’s president, Dr. Dennis P. McCabe. “We have come to depend upon his vision, his leadership and his easy-to-approach style of administration. We embrace his decision and will celebrate and benefit from his time with Tarleton.”

Peer’s retirement will conclude a very successful 40-year career in education that has ranged in experiences from tenured professor to interim president at public and private universities, including Central Michigan University, Adams State College and the University of Tulsa.

“To say I’ve been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences throughout my career is an understatement, and these six years at Tarleton have done nothing but add to that sense of unusual fortune,” Peer said.

Recognizing opportunities critical to academic growth, he has helped initiate the expansion of the university into new territories, including increasing the number of degree programs at Tarleton’s Fort Worth facilities and at McLennan County Community College in Waco, which resulted in a shift from offering individual courses online to offering complete online degree programs, including five master’s degrees.

His leadership efforts contributed to the successful reorganization of varied departments within the university’s colleges of education, business, and communication, as well as the establishment and enhancement of several new degree programs, including approval for one of only two fully accredited engineering physics degrees in the state.

“I’m pleased that we took a look at the curriculum that could be expanded- and the first that comes to mind is engineering,” Peer said. “We have provided a foundation for future engineering programs here at Tarleton that will be increasingly important in the state and the nation.”

Peer said he was especially fortunate to be involved in the final steps resulting in Tarleton offering its first doctorate degree program.

“Although my input was limited, I am pleased that this important milestone occurred. It will be my distinct pleasure to present to President McCabe at the May graduation ceremonies the first doctoral degree candidates in the university’s 109-year history,” he said.

His efforts also have focused on making faculty salaries competitive among A&M System member schools. Since 2001, the Tarleton faculty has received an overall average of a 36-percent salary increase.

“I think it was important that we looked seriously at this issue and President McCabe found the funds to improve our relative position among state universities by increasing faculty salaries,” Peer said.

Known for his easy manner and tireless efforts to improve Tarleton, Peer will be missed by many on campus.

“Tarleton has a way of becoming a very special place to those of us privileged to work here,” he said. “My experience here has simply been among the best in my career.”

“Dr. Peer has been a friend of the faculty since the day he arrived on campus,” said Dr. Jeanelle Barrett, faculty senate president. “With his leadership and support, the university’s academic programs are poised for continued growth and development well into the next decade.”