President Neal J. Smatresk became UNT’s 16th president on Feb. 3, 2014, marking his second university presidency. A dynamic, engaging leader with nearly 35 years of experience in higher education, President Smatresk is known for steering universities to national prominence by providing quality, affordable education, expanding research and innovation, and building strong community partnerships.
President Smatresk leads UNT at a time of strong momentum. Located in one of the nation’s largest, fastest-growing metropolitan areas, UNT is one of the nation’s largest universities and is home to more than 37,000 students and more than 200 degree programs. UNT graduated 8,500 students last year who joined UNT’s network of 393,000 alumni.
Before joining UNT, President Smatresk led the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as president for more than four years and provost for two years. He helped UNLV become one of the nation’s most popular universities among students and an essential resource in one of the country’s fastest-growing cities. Before UNLV, he served as vice chancellor for academic affairs and deputy to the chancellor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa for three years. President Smatresk started his academic career at the University of Texas at Arlington and spent 22 years there, serving as the dean of science, biology chair and a biology professor.
A biologist and researcher by training, President Smatresk also has devoted much of his career to supporting K-20 science outreach programs, STEM development and teacher professional development. President Smatresk earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Gettysburg College, a master’s degree in biology from State University of New York at Buffalo and a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Texas at Austin.