Texas A&M System regents name F. Dominic Dottavio Tarleton President Emeritus

The Texas A&M University System's Board of Regents honored outgoing Tarleton State University President F. Dominic Dottavio (center) with the title of President Emeritus on Aug. 8. Dottavio is stepping down Aug. 31, after serving Tarleton as its 15th president for the past 11 years. (Texas A&M University System photo)

STEPHENVILLE (August 8, 2019) – The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents today honored Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio with the title President Emeritus. He is stepping down Aug. 31 after 11 years as the 15th president of Tarleton State University.

The title of President Emeritus is reserved for individuals who have made significant contributions to the A&M System through long and distinguished service in administration while holding the position of president.

“Dominic Dottavio is one of the best presidents of any university in the state,” said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp. “He has given us more than a decade of exceptional service and leadership, inspiring, encouraging and engaging others to do more and become more. Dominic is an influential and enthusiastic leader.

“Tarleton’s transformation over the past decade is evidence of his passion for higher education and his commitment to helping students realize their academic dreams. I applaud our Board of Regents in naming Dr. Dottavio as President Emeritus.”

During Dottavio’s tenure, Tarleton’s enrollment has grown almost 70 percent from just under 8,000 students to more than 13,000, and high-demand academic programs are now offered in Fort Worth, Waco and Midlothian thanks to partnerships with other colleges and universities. A recent report lists Tarleton seventh among the top 100 schools in America in application growth with an increase of 131.4 percent since 2012. The A&M System recognizes the university as a model for increasing retention and graduation rates – up 60 percent in the last five years.

Tarleton has added more than 35 academic programs since 2008, along with a College of Health Sciences and Human Services, a School of Nursing, a School of Kinesiology, a School of Engineering, and a School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies. Its first Ph.D. – a doctor of philosophy in criminal justice – begins this fall.

Donations to Tarleton have increased 78 percent under Dottavio’s leadership, and the university’s endowment is up 81 percent. Tarleton debuted the first building of its planned Fort Worth campus Aug. 1, thanks to a gift of 80 acres along the Chisholm Trail Parkway and the support of city leaders, legislators and the A&M regents. The second phase of the campus – buildings to shape a formal quad – is expected to accommodate an enrollment approaching 6,000 students. Construction plans are underway.

In addition to Tarleton’s new permanent home in Fort Worth, Dottavio has worked with elected and A&M officials on more than $400 million in construction and expansion projects, including a $54 million Engineering Building and a $26.4 million renovation of Memorial Stadium – both set to be dedicated Aug. 20 – plus infrastructure improvements that create more green space and provide pedestrian-friendly paths across the Stephenville campus.

Keeping true to Tarleton’s history and traditions, Dottavio reinstated the Texan Corps of Cadets in 2016 with a focus on the core values that define the Tarleton family – tradition, integrity, civility, leadership, excellence and service. Part student military organization and part leadership training, the Corps is the only cadet group in the nation not associated with a senior military college.

Dottavio came to Tarleton from the presidency of Heidelberg University, a private college in Tiffin, Ohio. Prior to that, he led the Marion campus of The Ohio State University. Following a semester-long sabbatical, he will be a faculty member in Tarleton’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, where he has had an appointment as a tenured professor since coming to the university. He also will assist the Division of Institutional Advancement.


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