Chancellor Pagano to step down at end of the school year

UWT Chancellor Mark Pagano has cited family and meeting goals as reasons for stepping down.

Mark Pagano has officially announced his resignation from his role as chancellor of UW Tacoma. Planning to serve as chancellor until the start of fall 2021 — which is the expected date that UW will have selected a successor to the chancellorship — Pagano cited a few reasons as to why he is stepping down from his role, including both professional and personal reasons.

For professional reasons, Pagano stated that he felt the founder’s celebration back in August of this year was a high note to finish on. He further explained that after having reached their fundraiser’s original goal of $45 million, as well as the stretch goal total of $55 million, he felt that it was a good time to step down.

“I’m a builder, I am an engineer,” said Pagano, who has a doctorate in engineering science from the Southern University Illinois Carbondale. “I’ve had … a positive career experience building UW Tacoma for the future … I carried the baton forward. We made a lot of good steps forward. Things were hard, though. So, maybe it was time to hand the baton to somebody else.”

Pagano also cited personal reasons for stepping down. He discussed his desire to spend more time with his family, especially his new grandchildren, as well as support his wife in her career endeavors.

“I’ve had two grandkids since I became chancellor, and I haven’t seen them nearly enough,” Pagano said. “My wife is starting an EdD program. She has supported me as provost in Montana and as chancellor here, so I need to support her.”

Finally, Pagano had one more reason for wanting to step down: as part of his resignation, he plans to join the faculty of the new UWT engineering programs. Pagano, who was a professor at Purdue University for 19 years, explained that he wanted to end his career the same way he started.

“I [would] kind of like to end my career as a professor,” Pagano said. “Since I have got such a deep respect for our campus and our community, I can’t think of anything better than ending that professorship here on our faculty at UWT.”

Pagano explained that he had placed his resignation on Sept. 15 and decided now is the time for the formal release of the news. UW President Ana Marie Cauce fully disclosed Pagano’s resignation on Oct. 19 in a newsletter, praising Pagano and his administration’s efforts in improving UWT’s local, national and global outreach and recognition.

“Mark guided the campus to carefully articulate its strategic vision,” said Cauce in her newsletter. “He advanced the campus’ ties to the community, engaging with the leadership of the region through organizations such as South Sound Together and the Executive Council for a Greater Tacoma. He strengthened relationships with partners at the city, county and state levels, and led the campus to the successful conclusion of a historic fundraising campaign.”

Pagano will continue to serve the rest of the year as chancellor while a committee to find his replacement is underway. Pagano has expressed that he will be here to help the transition of the new chancellor if they so choose.

For now, however, Pagano has stated that he and his team have several goals that they are still working on, and are acting quickly to complete those tasks. This includes hiring a new vice chancellor for Finance Administration, moving the campus through the budget reduction as asked by the state of Washington, continuing the work on the climate survey’s response implementation and planning ways to help the campus rebound from COVID-19 once it is safe to open the campus back for all students, staff, faculty and classes.

When asked if he has had an overall positive experience with being the chancellor of UWT, Pagano had this to say:

“Yes … I have absolutely loved this experience … I loved my previous job, and when you leave a job you love, you’re always worried about coming to the next job. When I came to [this] job, [Me and my wife] fell in love with the town, the University of Washington, our campus. We were walking a foot off the ground … with the experience. The work was difficult … but it was a very positive experience for me. The most rewarding experience I’ve ever had in my career.”