Paul Smith’s President announces retirement


John W. Mills

Paul Smith’s College President John W. Mills announced Monday that he will retire on June 30, after serving in the office for more than a decade.

“This is the best job I ever had,” said Mills, 66, who has been president since 2004. “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.”

E. Phillip Saunders, chairman of the college’s board of trustees, applauded Mills upon his retirement.

“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,” Saunders said. “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.”

Since Mills joined Paul Smith’s in 2000, as vice president for academic affairs, he has helped usher the college through a period of rapid transformation. He helped ensure the success of Paul Smith’s transition from a two- to a four-year institution, oversaw some of the largest enrollments on campus since the early 1980s, and drove award-winning programs to strengthen academic support for students who might have dropped out of college without them. The college’s Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) has become a leading voice for the protection of this region’s ecological assets.

The campus itself also experienced a remarkable transformation under Mills’ leadership. The Joan Weill Student Center, which opened in 2006, has become the center of student life. Two LEED-certified buildings, the Countess Alicia Spaulding-Paolozzi Environmental Science and Education Center and the Overlook Hall residence hall, have been built. An overhaul of the Saunders Sports Complex has resulted in a marked upgrade to athletic and recreation facilities; culinary students are providing fine dining at a pair of new campus restaurants, The Palm at Paul Smith’s College and the St. Regis Café; and countless other improvements have shaped the on-campus experience.

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