As Dr. Sharon L. Gaber sets foot on The University of Toledo campus Wednesday, she will be doing so for the first time as UT’s president.Selected in March by UT’s Board of Trustees, July 1 marks the end of a 10-month journey that has taken Gaber from her post as provost at the University of Arkansas to the 17th president and first woman to lead UT in its 143-year history.
“Wednesday represents the end of a transition process for me, but it’s a beginning for this institution,” Gaber said. “Starting July 1, I’ll be working with students and employees, elected and community leaders, and alumni and friends to elevate The University of Toledo on a national stage. Together, we will demonstrate and create the excellence our students and this community need and expect from us.”
“I know I speak for the entire board when I say how excited we are for the leadership that President Gaber will provide The University of Toledo,” said Sharon Speyer, chair of the UT Board of Trustees. “She brings with her an impressive track record of accomplishment and a clear vision of excellence for UT’s future.”
At UT, Gaber will focus on elevating one of the country’s most comprehensive institutions of higher education through increases in externally funded research, student enrollment and graduation rates, philanthropic support, and the recruitment of leading academic and clinical faculty.
Also on Wednesday, Gaber will meet with her senior leadership team as well as Student Government and Faculty Senate leaders. Additionally, she will spend time on Health Science Campus speaking with staff at UT Medical Center.
Starting July 1, the new president also will be active on Twitter. Follow and connect with Gaber using the handle @UTPresident.
In addition to more than two dozen grants totally nearly $2 million, Gaber is the author of 40 peer-reviewed articles researching and analyzing regional and urban planning, public policy, and the social dynamics that affect community decision-making.
As president, Gaber serves on the board of trustees for the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce and the board of directors for the Regional Growth Partnership.
At Arkansas, Gaber was a member of the board of directors of the University of Arkansas Fayetteville Campus Foundation, the Washington Regional Medical Center, and Simmons First National Corp. She also was vice chair of the Arkansas Research and Technology Park board of directors.
She led the SEC Provosts Group, a partnership of the chief academic officers of the Southeastern Conference, and is a member of the Urban Affairs Association, the American Planning Association, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.
Prior to her time at Arkansas, she served in multiple roles in the provost’s office at Auburn University; these included interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, senior associate provost, and associate provost for academic administration.
She served as an associate dean in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction and before that, she was department chair and assistant chair in community and regional planning at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Gaber, who co-founded the Women’s Commission at the University of Arkansas, was named Academic Woman of the Year at Auburn in 2009 and earned the Professional Planner Distinguished Leadership Award presented by the Alabama Chapter of the American Planning Association.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from Occidental College, a master’s degree from the University of Southern California, and a doctorate in city and regional planning from Cornell University.