CANYON, TX (KFDA) - Making history with his tenure, a local university president has announced his retirement.
Dr. Joseph Patrick O'Brien has called West Texas A & M University his second home for ten years.
As it stands, he is pleased with the growth, but feels it is time to step down.
O'Brien says it is time. He and his wife decided this academic year will be his last, as he will enter retirement.
"It is bittersweet for us, we've grown to love WT students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends of WT, just the whole gamut and they're very very special people, so we're certainly going to miss the people. The paperwork, nah I won't miss that very much," says O'Brien.
Since O'Brien's start, enrollment at WT has become historically high. It has grown from about 74,000 in the fall of 2006 to about 9,500, making it the highest it's been.
"It's very gratifying to see the growth, but I don't think my greatest accomplishment is the enrollment growth, I don't think my greatest accomplishment is the new construction that we've had on campus, the renovations. If I had to boil it down, if I've been able to do something, I think it has been to help continue to change the culture," says O'Brien.
Once the semester has come to a close, O'Brien and his wife will move to New Orleans...and take advantage of some long-overdue traveling.
"Part of that travel is going to be back up to here. We have a lot of very, very good friends and we want to visit with them and I want to see the institution progress. We have season tickets for Auburn football. We don't make it to the games. Maybe at most we will make it to one game a year. We'll be able to do that now," says O'Brien.
But one thought that O'Brien says will always reside with him...
While it will not be easy, the Texas A & M board of regents will now work toward finding someone to fill O'Briens shoes.