13 years ago
Cristen Perkowski

What will Robert Lovitt miss most? Watching UTD continuously grow from the 6,600-student, four-building university he first encountered in 1985.

After almost 20 years as UTD’s senior vice president for business affairs, Lovitt formally announced his retirement, effective May 31, 2005.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with them (the students),” Lovitt said. “Students are young and have good ideas. It makes you have to work through the ideas and keeps you sharp.”

President Franklyn Jenifer said he believes UTD will miss Lovitt’s work ethic and prudent fiscal management most.

“Once you’ve been at a university for 19 years, you’re no longer an employee. You’re a part of the university family,” Jenifer said.

Lovitt joined UTD in October 1985 and has contributed to the addition of seven buildings and on-campus apartments. He also started UTD’s Annual Golf Tournament that raises money for UTD scholarships and has been an avid supporter of UTD athletics.

Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Darrelene Rachavong – who joined UTD at approximately the same time as Lovitt – said his ability to identify collegiate trends around the country and his knowledge of fiscal practices has been his greatest contributions to UTD.

“His experience in the financial end of the university are the areas Dr. Jenifer and the administration have relied upon the most,” Rachavong said.

Lovitt received his bachelor’s degree in business with an emphasis on accounting from Nebraska Westland in 1967 and his MBA from the University of Nebraska.

He added he never thought he’d be a part of higher education, but said it was the best thing for him.

“When you’re in college, your mind changes every other day. I didn’t have a job when I got out of college,” Lovitt said.

Lovitt began his career in higher education at University of Nebraska. He worked in a banking position in Houston for a brief time, but joined UTD in October 1985.

Lovitt said college is much different than during his university days.

“I’d have rather had 8 a.m. classes, which is much different than today’s students,” Lovitt said.

Lovitt said he’s looking forward to spending time with his wife and three grandchildren.

“In this work environment you don’t stay at a place 19-20 years without investing a big part of your life,” Lovitt said.

He added he’d like to spend his time traveling and doing things around the house.

He will continue to work at UTD for the coming nine months, which he said would give him the time to transition out.

Lovitt’s retirement will leave two of the three vice president positions open for replacements with a new university president on the horizon.

“We’re so close to the appointment of a new president. I think the best thing to do is leave the positions vacant,” Jenifer said.

Jenifer added that by leaving the positions open, the new president will be able to conduct his or her own search for replacements.