University of Akron President Gary L. Miller to Retire Robert J. (R.J.) Nemer named president


Nemersmall.jpgMay 15, 2024 – The University of Akron (UA) Board of Trustees today announced that President Gary L. Miller has stepped down from the role of president in anticipation of his retirement on Oct. 4, 2024, after five years of successful leadership through challenging times. Robert J. (R.J.) Nemer, dean of UA College of Business, has been appointed as the next president with full endorsement from UA’s shared governance and key internal constituency groups.

Nemer will step into the president’s role immediately. Miller will remain as a special consultant to the president to provide transition support through his official retirement. A search will be conducted for the new dean of the College of Business.

“Under the guidance of President Miller, The University of Akron has taken meaningful, tangible steps to address serious challenges presented by a rapidly changing higher education environment and the global pandemic,” said Lewis Adkins, UA Board chair. “His leadership in tackling significant financial issues, while reinvigorating relationships with the local Akron community as well as within the University community, has been critical to the progress made during his tenure.

“We thank President Miller for his many contributions and for strengthening the value and impact of the UA experience for our students, staff and faculty. We wish him all the best as he moves forward.”

“I want to thank the Board, staff, faculty and most of all our inspiring students for giving me the opportunity to create a bright future for this fine University,” said President Miller. “As I enter the next chapter of my life, I have full confidence that President Nemer will continue the good work we have done to create an exciting future for our students and our campus. His skills as an entrepreneur, business leader and innovator will serve this University well as we continue to seek creative ways to stay ahead in a challenging marketplace.”

During his tenure, President Miller worked to lead UA through the difficult process of rightsizing colleges, budgets, faculty and staff that positioned the institution to improve both financial and enrollment stability. President Miller also invested heavily in building stronger relationships between his administration and shared governance leaders on campus, forging a common vision of success.

President Miller’s commitment to the student experience resulted in significant efforts to improve student morale and engagement post-pandemic, including deploying more than $1 million in student mental health grants and increasing student co-op, internship and job placement opportunities.

Under the stewardship of President Miller and his wife, Georgia Nix Miller, outreach efforts with alumni and partners across the country have resulted in achieving 80% of the University’s capital campaign goal. This totals more than $120 million in gifts and future bequests.

The Millers have been passionate in their dedication to the University’s excellent arts programs and to strengthening the connection between UA and the Akron community. They have embraced the city as a distinctive asset of a UA education that provides opportunities for experiential learning, employment, cultural enrichment and community connection. These efforts include securing a $20 million grant from the Knight Foundation to transform the Polsky Building into a downtown arts and academic destination.

President Miller also shepherded the University’s role as a founding member of the Polymer Industry Cluster, currently a contender for major funding awards on both the state and federal levels. These efforts will result in groundbreaking research for our polymer industry partners and will highlight the University as a provider of highly trained employees. President Nemer brings a uniquely impressive resume with a combination of private sector success and experience in an academic setting. Born and raised in Akron, Nemer holds two degrees from UA – a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, earned in 1990, and a law degree earned in 1995. He worked as an attorney before founding a professional golf agency in 1998, which he grew into the largest independently held sports agency of its kind in the world. Nemer sold the firm to William Morris Endeavor/IMG in 2015 and assumed global leadership of the company's IMG Golf brand.

Since being appointed dean of the College of Business in January 2022, President Nemer has increased enrollment in the face of declines in higher education nationally. Additionally, he has expanded relationships with regional and national employers by branding the College of Business as a place where students “experience business,” building on its strength in experiential learning.

The Board has tasked President Nemer with leading the University in its next steps toward a more sustainable future, focusing on a return to solid financial footing. The Board believes the University can establish a stronger brand, focusing on academic areas that are in demand in the market to increase enrollment.

“I look forward to working with all of the colleges and other campus entities to build enthusiasm, endorse positive culture and make room for necessary change University-wide,” said President Nemer. “We have a great opportunity ahead of us and we have all the tools necessary to implement purpose-driven stability and growth, ensuring our next 150 years. My immediate priority is to create a stronger and more collaborative culture across the University so we can do far better at recruiting and retaining students.”

Media contact: Cristine Boyd, 330-972-6476 or