Spaniolo named president emeritus of UTA

Honorary title reserved for ‘exemplary service and significant contributions’

Thursday, May 05, 2022 • Jeff Carlton : Contact

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The University of Texas System Board of Regents has appointed James D. Spaniolo president emeritus of The University of Texas at Arlington, citing his lasting and positive impact on UTA.

Spaniolo served as UTA president from 2004-13 and as senior advisor for external engagement from 2020 until earlier this year.

The Board of Regents finalized the appointment at its May 4-5 meeting, approving a recommendation from Chancellor James B. Milliken and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Archie L. Holmes Jr. They reserve the honorary title of president emeritus for former presidents of UT System universities whose exemplary service and significant contributions made a lasting and positive impact on their institutions.

“It was a great honor to serve as president of UT Arlington, and I’m filled with Maverick pride for this extraordinary university,” Spaniolo said.

Under Spaniolo’s leadership, UTA saw dramatic increases in student organizational involvement, leadership opportunities, cultural events, community service activities and new infrastructure. Enrollment increased by 34%, annual research expenditures and philanthropic giving tripled and UTA completed more than $400 million in campus construction, including the Engineering Research Building, Maverick Activities Center and College Park Center.

Spaniolo also established new and lasting traditions, such as the Maverick Speakers Series, MavsMeet Convocation, Parent and Family Weekend and the creation of official class rings.

Most significantly, he started UTA on the path to achieving Texas Tier One status, a distinction finally achieved in 2021 that signifies the University’s academic and research excellence and provides access to the state’s National Research University Fund.

“Through his efforts, President Spaniolo positioned UT Arlington to become a major national research university and have highly rated academic programs in every one of our colleges and schools,” UTA President Jennifer Cowley said. “We would not be the diverse, impactful, vibrant research university of today without his leadership.”

Prior to his tenure as UTA president, Spaniolo was dean of Michigan State University’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences from 1996-2003 and vice president and chief program officer of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation from 1989-96. He has a law degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s in public administration and bachelor’s in political science from Michigan State.