John Ellis Price, Founding President of UNT-Dallas, Will Step Down Next Year

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The University of North Texas at Dallas has come along way since it was founded in 2000 as a 55-student extension of UNT's Denton campus. In 2007, it moved onto its permanent campus and three years later became a standalone institution that now boasts a shade over 2,000 students. Not long ago, it received accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a sort of seal of competence for higher-ed institutions.

Pretty much all of that happened under John Ellis Price, a former accounting professor and IRS agent who was named the fledgling campus' chief executive officer in 2001. Price was business-minded, "a champion of 'disruptive innovation,'" as the Chronicle of Higher Ed calls him. Last year, he brought in Bain & Company, which will likely lead to emphasis on career-focused fields like business, information technology and criminal justice.

Whatever one thinks of that vision, someone else will be called on to carry it forward. UNT-Dallas announced today that Price is stepping down when his contract ends at the end of August 2013.

In the press release announcing his departure, Price said he had accomplished his three goals of establishing the university, earning SACS accreditation and providing the school with a strong foundation for the future. According to the Chronicle, he had been discussing the decision with UNT Chancellor Lee Jackson for several months.

Price "may return to teaching, research and consulting or may pursue another presidency of an established university, after a well-earned break," the release said. As for the university, it will move forward under an as yet unnamed leader. As Jim Mitchell notes at the Morning News, the school has a long way to go before it has 16,000 students and a half-billion dollar annual impact on the economy.

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