President’s Announcement about Chancellor Neil George

| August 31, 2011

Webster University Chancellor Neil George

Neil George

A special announcement from Webster University President Beth Stroble:

The Webster we know is a university that creates a strong sense of community, a respect for history and tradition, and the vision to continue to innovate in ways that address students’ unmet needs.

The Webster we know is home to students who come to us, often continue for multiple degrees, and become devoted alumni who make us proud and sometimes join us as fellow colleagues and employees.

The Webster we know welcomes faculty and staff who find here a welcome environment for developing their skills and knowledge, influencing generations of students, and making a difference in the university they come to love.

One such individual, who joined Webster University’s faculty in 1972, subsequently serving as department chair, chair of the faculty, dean, executive vice president, and interim president, has indeed made his mark on Webster University.

I am, of course, speaking of Chancellor Neil George. It is with profound respect and admiration for him that I now announce, at Dr. George’s request, his decision to close his Webster career. Following the 2011-12 academic year, Neil will retire and assume the title of Chancellor Emeritus.

There will be many opportunities for all of us to celebrate the impact Neil has had on Webster University’s successes as well as his impact on each of us. I indeed owe him a great deal as a colleague who seeks only the best for Webster and has been instrumental in assisting my learning in the past two years. It is indeed difficult to imagine Webster University without Neil George. His career-long devotion is a testament to his character as well as that of this exceptional university.

Please join me in expressing the best wishes of a grateful university.

Category: Advancement, Employee News, Faculty, Presidential Messages, Webster News

Comments (20)

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  1. Sharon Hessler says:

    Best wishes to you Neil.  It has been a pleasure to work with you at Webster University and you will truly be missed!

  2. karl sterner says:

    dr george thank you for all you have done for me personally and i wish you the best of luck in the future.

  3. Diane Fagan says:

    Thank you, Neil. Twenty years ago, you listened when no one else would. Thank you for giving Fort Smith a chance. Thank you for giving me a chance.  Because of you, hundreds of Fort Smith residents had and have the opportunity to pursue their master’s degrees with a reputable University. Neil, your gift to us has been phenomenal. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

  4. Brian Daly says:


    Your calm and focused leadership has made Webster strong. Thank you from all your fans in Kentucky and Indiana.

  5. Dan Hellinger says:

    Neil is to blame. He hired me when he was chair of what is now HPIR. His accomplishments as a professor, chair, dean, vp for academic affairs, and interim president are impressive.  I can’t list them all, but Neil (1) created the Int. Relations program so that Arts and Sciences would be represented at our first overseas campus in Geneva in 1978; (2) insisted as dean of the undergrad school that we could have a robust undergraduate program — this at a time when some thought we might become mostly a graduate institution, when we were lucky to have 20 entering frosh outside of conservatory; (3) initiated the sports program; (4) created schools and colleges (Yes, I know this is not univerally accepted).  Neil has been stalwart in defense of academic freedom, and more than anything else compassionate in even the most trying circumstances. 

    And of course, when he was chair he led the department faculty to its lone victory over the combine basketball team put together by the legendary Harry Cargas out of Philosophy and English.  (Neil found an ex-NBA player finishing his degree in our department; I’ll never forget Harry’s face the first time the guy took off from the foul line for a dunk.)

    It’s truely is the end of an era. Few peole have left so strong a mark on this institution.

    • Dominik Jansky says:

      Thanks to everyone for sharing these stories. They’re not only great tributes to Neil; they’re also excellent ways to educate newer Webster employees about the context of Webster’s history, where we’ve come from and how we got here. Please do keep them coming.

  6. Liza Schultheis says:

    You will be missed here at  Webster.  Your achievements and accomplishments are visible across campus.
    I hope you have a wonderful retirement and please come and see us here at Webster
    With deepest respect

  7. Kit Jenkins says:

    I’m one of the lucky ones who had Neil as a boss. Across time zones, oceans and crises (tsunami, coup, avian flu), Neil took time to talk with me, guide me and help me be a better administrator. I depended on his calm voice and wise counsel in so many instances.

  8. Ron (Ralph) McClendon says:

    I wish you well on your retirement.

  9. Dr. George, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to have private talks and general conversation. I appreciate all of those moments and your concern about me and my family. Your words of encouragement, tips and wisdom helped to make my transition to director seamless.  Thanks for being the man you are and my you be continually blessed.  Peace, Carol.

  10. Cindy Rose says:

    Neil, you came to Scott AFB for a meeting with the director, Sue Morris.  I remember being quite nervous about your arrival.  You were the Executive Vice President from Main Campus and I was just a simple volunteer truly new to the office and Webster. While we exchanged a quick hello it was what you did prior to leaving that made such a huge impact on me.   

    Preparing to leave you gave Sue a hug, turned and looked at me, opened your portfolio, pulled out a  4×4 square piece of red cardstock and handed it to me without a word.  On the cardstock were three Japanese symbols scrolled in black.  The look on my face must have told you I needed the symbols translated because before I could even say a word, you reached over and turned the paper a quarter of a turn and said, “Hung this way means may you have good fortune.”  Two weeks later I became a part time employee of the university, and four years passed I was a campus director.  Twenty years have come and gone but that 4×4 piece of red paper still hangs in my home.

    We all knew this day would come and like many others, I too wish you well.  Your tenure helped pave the course of this University as a global leader and that is a leagacy you will always own.    

  11. Debbie Pierce says:

    My regret is that I did not work here longer and have more time to learn from you.
    Thank you for having the confidence in me and bringing me to Webster University.
    From all of us, please accept our deepest gratitude for a lifetime of dedication making this place what it is today.  Thank you for the foresight to make Webster University the international university that it is.  So many of our students’ and faculty lives have been enriched by the experiences you made available to them.
    You left your mark and you will not be forgotten.  Just don’t forget us  – but have fun.

  12. Neil,
    It has been an honor and a pleasure. You have helped Webster University develop into the great institution that it is today, and I say thank you. You will be missed. I hope you have many more adventures!

  13. Rene Murph says:

    Neil, you were one of my first supervisors (Jim Staley too) here at Webster.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  We had a good team.  I will miss our occassional chats and I wish you good health and happiness.

  14. Robert J Fry says:

    Neil: Congratulations on your pending retirement!
    You were there in the early years, when Webster was a one campus organization struggling to meet payrolls… and now, 40 years later, part of a thriving, dynamic, multi-campus international wonder.
    So many changes, and you were such a big part of those changes and the success of Webster College and now Webster University.
    You were always supportive and collegial in the efforts to construct and maintain fiscal soundness throughout all the years we worked with you and your staff on budgets and struggles to stay within those budgets.
    You have been a good friend and great colleague. I wish you the best in your retirement.
    Best regards
    Bob Fry

  15. Patrick Stack says:

    Thanks for your support and encouragement. All the best.

  16. Mark Govoni says:


    Thanks for hiring me just 25 short years ago, giving me the opportunity to contribute and learn at Webster, and to develop a career path in student life now spanning 32 years.  Every time I go back to Webster  I marvel at what’s been done there, much of it directly attributable to your vision and leadership.  I miss our breakfast meetings, and your amazing abiltity to roll with stuff that drove me nuts (still the case).  I’ve come to understand that I could never be anywhere for 40 years (my longest is a paltry 10), and that people who can be have adaptability and resilency beyond my imagination.

    “Chancellor for Life”–very cool.

  17. Mike Salevouris says:

    Congratulations, Neil, on a stellar career.
    Lot’s of Webster employees are relative newcomers and are unaware of the truly amazing number of contributions Neil has made in his time at Webster. Dan Hellinger listed some of them, but there are others. For instance, Neil is responsible for convincing Commerce Bank to offer the Kemper teaching awards at Webster. He also convinced them to increase significantly the size of the awards. In our department he founded the legal studies program and the Jefferson City internship program. And sports (as Dan mentioned) have become an integral and important part of the Webster scene. He has been a consistent champion of the faculty and Webster’s various international programs. This university is going to miss him.
    Mike Salevouris

  18. Dr. George,


    I would like to thank you for being available to staff for brief conversations with words of wisdom or a simple “How are you doing”.

    Thanks for making ‘everyone’ feel a part of the whole.

    To you Sir  – BEST WISHES.

  19. Betty Kupke says:

    Dr. George,
    I retired from the University on August 19th. You made my last day special after speaking with you in the elevator that morning.  You have always been respected by the staff because of your kindness and friendliness to all.  Webster will never be feel the same when you are gone.
    Enjoy your upcoming retirement years.
    Betty Kupke