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University of Akron President Matt Wilson Stepping Down to Return to Teaching

photo of Matthew Wilson, University of Akron

The University of Akron’s president will step down from the position after two years leading the university.

Wilson on his transition

Matt Wilson says enrollment and philanthropy have grown during his tenure, but the school still faces a $20 million deficit, and there’s been recent controversy over the resignation of the dean of the College of Polymer Science.  Earlier this month, Wilson had been a candidate for the presidency at the University of Central Florida, and says the interview process made him realize that Akron is in a strong position for the future.

“Our strategic plans that we have rolled out on a short term basis, we have been able to accomplish those and do even more. So it really seemed like the perfect time to make a personal shift.”

Wilson added that his son's struggles with a rare form of pediatric cancer were also a factor.

“As we were doing everything possible together, as a family, to help the University of Akron School of Law succeed -- and then the University of Akron -- our youngest son has struggled with that. Fortunately, he’s doing very well. But when you talk about the level of energy you expend, those are things that play a factor as well.”

Wilson was appointed interim in July, 2016, and made the permanent president just three months later. He says enrollment and philanthropy are up compared to the short tenure of his predecessor, Scott Scarborough.

The Board of Trustees says it will be deciding on an interim president in the "very near future." Wilson's return to the law school takes effect on July 31.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.