Dan Ferritor will serve as interim chancellor at the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville during the search for a permanent replacement for David Gearhart, who will leave the job July 31.

Ferritor, who recently retired as a vice president of the UA system, was chancellor from 1986-97.


Pay is being negotiated, a spokesman said.

The UA System release follows:


University of Arkansas System President Don Bobbitt has named Dan Ferritor as interim chancellor to take over the flagship university’s top position upon current UA Chancellor G. David Gearhart’s July 31 retirement.

Ferritor, who has spent the last two years as vice president of learning technologies for the UA System, served as UA chancellor from 1986-97 and held various other positions during a 32-year career with the university.
“I feel very lucky to have had someone with Dr. Ferritor’s experience willing to come back and take on this challenge while we actively search for the campus’s next chancellor,” Bobbitt said. “He is very well respected by many people in this state and region, and his impeccable record during his lengthy career in higher education speaks for itself. I am confident he is the best choice to continue Dr. Gearhart’s exemplary record of progress and provide the UA with the strong and steady leadership that the job requires.”


After 20 years of service to the UA in which he guided the institution through an unprecedented period of growth, Gearhart will step down as chancellor on July 31. Gearhart became the fifth chancellor of the University of Arkansas on July 1, 2008, following 10 years of service to the university as vice chancellor for University Advancement. He previously served at the university for three years as director of development in the early 1980s.

“I am excited and honored to have been asked to serve as interim chancellor to act as a bridge between a proven leader and our next chancellor,” Ferritor said. “Chancellor Gearhart put together a strong leadership team, an outstanding faculty and a student body any university would be proud to have. With my former experience, I know how vital it is to have those tools in place to act as the glue that holds everything together. With this base, I am confident we will continue to do great things and, more importantly, convinced we will ultimately find a strong new chancellor.”

Ferritor first joined the UA faculty in 1967 as assistant professor before leaving to complete his doctoral work at Washington University in St. Louis and to conduct early childhood research as part of a federal educational research laboratory. He returned to the UA in 1973 as associate professor of sociology and in 1980 became chairman of the sociology department. He was named provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UA in 1985 and was selected as chancellor in 1986, where he led the university until he retired in 1997. He returned to the sociology department from 1998-2005 as university professor, where he held the Jones Chair in Community from 2002-05.

He led the UA during the renovation of Old Main, the oldest building on the Fayetteville campus, which collected more than $13 million in private and state funding and was rededicated to future students in 1991. As chancellor, he also headed $120 million of capital improvement projects, which included the addition of 2 million square feet of classroom, laboratory and library space. He also raised the bar for annual fundraising from $3 million a year to $20 million.


In 2000, he received the Chancellor’s Medal, and soon after UA officials dedicated the Daniel E. Ferritor Hall.
Ferritor became the UA System’s vice president for academic affairs before taking on a part-time role as vice president of learning technologies, where he has been instrumental in preparing the launch of the UA System’s 100 percent-online eVersity project.

“I am looking forward to the chance to meet with faculty, students, deans and other leaders to talk about how we can best organize this interim period to make sure that the university continues to work toward its goals,” Ferritor said. “This is a difficult time for higher education. We are being asked to do more, often with less resources. The UA has not only accepted this challenge but has committed to a goal of improving and growing its reputation as a top public university. I’m honored to get a chance to continue this effort while we search for the next chancellor who, I believe, will be able to build on the excellent work that has previously been done.”