November 5, 2013

Paul Smith's College president to retire

PAUL SMITHS — After more than a decade as Paul Smith’s College president, John W. Mills will retire on June 30, 2014.

“This is the best job I ever had,” he said in a press release. “I’m making this decision, though, at a time when higher education is facing great change. 

“This is an opportune moment for a new leader to help Paul Smith’s execute that transition.”

Mills, 66, has held the position since 2004.

“I want to thank John for his 13 years of service to Paul Smith’s College and what will be 10 and a half years as president,” College Board of Trustees Chairman John Saunders said in the release. 

“He has done an outstanding job of leading the college and serving as a community leader. His decision to retire is a disappointment to us, but an opportunity as well. 

“We are initiating a search for a leader who can take John’s successes and the college’s opportunities into the future.”


Mills joined Paul Smith’s in 2000 as vice president for academic affairs; over his tenure he helped usher the college through a period of rapid transformation, the release said. 

During that time, the college transitioned from a two-year to four-year institution; he helped that effort to succeed and also oversaw some of the largest enrollments on campus since the early 1980s.

Mills also drove award-winning programs to strengthen academic support for students who might otherwise have dropped out of college, the release said.

The college’s Adirondack Watershed Institute, it said, has become a leading voice for the protection of this region’s ecological assets.

Under Mills’s leadership, the campus has undergone tremendous change. 

The Joan Weill Student Center, opened in 2006, has become the center of student life, the release said. Two LEED-certified buildings, the Countess Alicia Spaulding-Paolozzi Environmental Science and Education Center and the Overlook Hall residence hall, have been built. 

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