PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - After 14 years as the president of Oregon's flagship university, Dave Frohnmayer is retiring from the University of Oregon, school officials said Tuesday.
A well-known name across Oregon, Frohnmayer previously served as the state's attorney general and ran as the Republican candidate for governor in 1990, losing to Democrat Barbara Roberts.
A native Oregonian, Frohnmayer oversaw the emergence of the University of Oregon as an athletic powerhouse and a building boom on campus, as well as a fundraising campaign that's raised $759 million so far.
Under Frohnmayer, enrollment jumped by about 20 percent to more than 20,000, the university increased its presence in Portland, and the school started a program that exempts qualified students in lower-income families from tuition and fees.
But he also struggled against state budget cutbacks, complaints over faculty salaries that didn't match those at peer universities, concerns over his close relationship with the university's largest donor, Nike founder Phil Knight, and spiraling tuition costs.
Oregon University System Chancellor George Pernsteiner said a search for a new president would begin immediately, and he expects to have a candidate before Frohnmayer steps down in the summer of 2009.
In a letter to Pernsteiner and Gov. Ted Kulongoski, Frohnmayer said he intended to return to teaching and "other pursuits."
"The quality of education we offer is a national asset worth fighting for," Frohnmayer wrote. "We can always do better and we will."
Frohnmayer's departure caps a season of churn for Oregon universities.
In the past five years, Oregon State, Southern Oregon University, and Western Oregon University have gotten new presidents. A presidential search is under way at Portland State University, and interim presidents are in place at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande and Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls.
Kulongoski called Frohnmayer "not only a great leader, but a great Oregonian," and said he had been instrumental in helping a new generation of students see a future that included higher education.
Frohnmayer is a Rhodes scholar who is a graduate of Harvard and Oxford. He received his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. He and his wife, Lynn, started a foundation to combat Fanconi anemia after the rare genetic blood disorder killed two of his daughters. A third daughter also has the disease.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)