MANATEE -- Arthur Guilford, regional chancellor of University of South Florida Sarasota Manatee since 2007, is stepping down at the end of July, the school announced Tuesday.
"Now is just the time to do it. I don't try to hide my age," Guilford, 68, told the Bradenton Herald.
"I am retiring at the end of January 2015, however, in order to facilitate the hiring of a new regional chancellor, I will be stepping down from my position at the end of July 2014," he said in an email to USF supporters this week.
"The normal hiring cycle for higher education administrators is June to August of each year. Therefore, it will be helpful for me to step down from my current position at the end of July," Guilford wrote.
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"There is no reason in
the world we can't select someone between now and the end of July," Guilford told the Herald.
Guilford said after retirement he plans to make sure collaboration remain strong with SCF, Ringling and New College.
"We made excellent progress in monthly meetings, and we have been working on a board of governor's grant, which would allow us to look more at IT," Guilford said.
During his last six months, Guilford, who has worked for USF for 38 years, said he will work on special projects, including the transition to a new chancellor.
"We have accomplished a great deal over these past years, and I am confident that USF Sarasota-Manatee will continue to grow and develop in all the ways that we have planned," Guilford said.
State College of Florida President Carol Probstfeld praised Guilford in a statement released Tuesday.
"Arthur Guilford has been a great colleague and friend to me and to State College of Florida," Probstfeld said. "He graciously welcomed me to my role as president of SCF and I will miss his counsel and friendship.
"Together, we have worked on new collaborations that benefit our shared students and our community, including the new Artist-to-Teacher partnership and strengthening the enduring SCF-USFSM 2+2 Program. Arthur deserves recognition for achieving separate accreditation for USFSM, which was no small task, and for always being an enthusiastic champion and advocate for higher education in our area. I wish him all the best in retirement and I hope that he and his lovely wife, Lynn, have many happy years traveling and spending more time with their family."
Donal O'Shea, who became president of New College of Florida in mid-2012, also lauded Guilford.
"Arthur had a clear vision for the growth of USF Sarasota-Manatee and has been tremendously successful in achieving that goal," said O'Shea. "As a new member of the Sarasota and Manatee college community, I've found him to be a wonderful friend, collaborator and mentor. I'm confident that whoever succeeds him will see the value in continuing our efforts to form partnerships between the campuses."
The national USF search for a new regional chancellor will be chaired by Sophia Wisniewska, regional chancellor of USF St. Petersburg.
Guilford, a native Floridian, began his career at USF Tampa in 1975 as an assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders. He was then chair of the department for 15 years, and became associate dean of faculty and program development for USF Tampa's College of Arts and Sciences in 2004, overseeing tenure, honors and awards for more than 650 faculty members.
In 2006, Guilford was appointed by USF President Judy Genshaft to lead the search for a new regional chancellor of USF Sarasota-Manatee. USFSM faculty later petitioned for Guilford to be interviewed for the position.
"During Guilford's tenure, USF Sarasota-Manatee has matured and prospered," the release states.
Among his many accomplishments:
attainment of separate accreditation for USFSM:
creation of a learning center in North Port;
development of a general education program and recruitment of the institution's first freshman class into a four-year program;
launching College of Hospitality & Technology Leadership's Culinary Innovation Lab in Lakewood Ranch; and
a biology degree and science lab partnership with Mote Marine.
Since 2007, the number of degrees awarded by USFSM has increased by 18 percent. The College of Education's innovative Center for Partnerships in Arts Integrated Teaching and the establishment of USFSM's first athletic team -- the only collegiate crew club in Sarasota and Manatee counties -- are further legacies of Guilford's leadership, according to the release.
"The University of South Florida System is deeply appreciative of Arthur Guilford's leadership at USF Sarasota-Manatee," USF President Judy Genshaft said in a statement. "He has been a valued part of USF for almost four decades and a highly respected leader of a great team for the past seven years. I know that the entire Sarasota-Manatee community joins me in wishing him and his wife, Lynn, every happiness in retirement."
The Guilfords will remain active in the Sarasota-Manatee community and plan to divide their time between their primary residence in Sarasota and a vacation home in Cashiers, N.C., the USF release said, and will enjoy spending more time with two children and six grandchildren.