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September 2, 2014

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UNLV president to take over Feb. 3 at University of North Texas

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Christopher DeVargas

UNLV President Neal Smatresk speaks to students and faculty during the State of the University address, Thursday Sept. 12, 2013.

Neal Smatresk

Head Football coach Bobby Hauck, left, is congratulated by UNLV President Neal Smatresk by the Fremont cannon before a painting ceremony on UNLV campus Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. The UNLV football team beat Reno Saturday 27-22 to break an eight-year losing streak in the rivalry game and gain possession of the Fremont cannon. Launch slideshow »

UNLV President Neal Smatresk was confirmed today as the next president of the University of North Texas and will begin his new job Feb. 3.

The UNT System Board of Regents voted unanimously this morning to name Smatresk the 16th president of its flagship campus, located in Denton, Texas, just north of Dallas.

Smatresk, 62, who was in Denton today, is expected to submit his resignation at UNLV later this month.

Last month, Smatresk was named the sole finalist for the job.

“It’s an incredible privilege to be selected as the next president of the University of North Texas,” Smatresk said in a statement. “My wife Debbie and I are excited about returning to Texas and becoming members of the UNT community.”

Smatresk announced his intention to leave UNLV late last month, after four years at the helm of UNLV. Before becoming president at UNLV, Smatresk, a biologist, was the university’s provost, executive vice president and interim president.

In a message to the UNLV campus community, Smatresk said he decided to leave UNLV to be closer to his two children and newborn granddaughter in Texas. Smatresk, who grew up in New York, spent the first 25 years of his career in Texas, mostly at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Six months prior to Smatresk’s announcement, Nevada’s higher education leaders approved a four-year extension of his contract, which included an annual compensation package of $447,424.

UNT is the nation’s 24th largest public university, graduating 8,400 students last year from its 12 colleges. The Texas university offers 97 bachelor’s, 81 master’s and 35 doctoral degree programs.

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