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Sendoff for SWT’s new president

Austin American Statesman News (06/20/2002)
The charlotte (N.C) Observer

It’s tough to lose a university administrator as talented and respected as Denise Trauth, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte provost recently named president of Southwest Texas State University, but Chancellor James Woodward knew it was just a matter of time.

Trauth had been courted by search committees at other schools.

“She could have left last year, but she was looking for a job that was both doable and worth doing,” Woodward said. “She obviously was ready to be a university president.”

The provost is a school’s No. 2 administrator. Before taking the job in 1998, Trauth was dean of the graduate school and a professor of communication studies. Her accomplishments as provost of the growing young university include three that Woodward says were of “pivotal importance” to the university: formation of the College of Information Technology and the College of Health and Human Services, and the complete revision of the university’s general education requirements.

“Each of those was extremely difficult to do, and they were done well principally due to her leadership,” the chancellor said.

Woodward summarized the personal and professional qualities that he thinks will make Trauth excel as a university president. She’s very smart, an excellent listener and “very likable.” She’s decisive, yet confident enough in her abilities that she’s not reluctant to listen to advice. She’s an excellent strategic thinker who can translate strategic plans into operational plans. Finally, she’s committed to the belief that “public universities exist to serve the public good.”

Losing someone of that stature will create a big vacancy, but Woodward is sure that, after a national search, the university will fill the post with a person of similar potential. No doubt he’s right. Like Trauth, the previous provost left to become a university president: Philip Dubois, now president of the University of Wyoming.

Trauth leaves with the gratitude and best wishes of the university and the community and with the knowledge that she helped make the provost job a magnet for talented administrators. Not a bad way to go, we’d say.