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The student's president


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Pohl bio




Norval and Barbikay Pohl enjoy Homecoming 2004. Pohl, whose term as president will expire Aug. 31, is credited with helping increase student and alumni pride in the university.

The student's president

Commonly known as the student’s president, Norval F. Pohl was appointed the 13th leader of UNT in October 2000. That was the same month the student body approved a new fee to support the construction of a state-of-the-art student recreation center.

From that time forward, Pohl dedicated himself to fulfilling the students’ wishes for a first-class space for recreation, and the building was completed in 2003.


The UNT System Board of Regents will rename the recreation center the Norval F. Pohl Student Recreation Center at its August meeting, honoring Pohl’s dedication to the project and his service to students.


To honor that dedication and his service to students, the UNT System Board of Regents will officially name the center the Norval F. Pohl Student Recreation Center at its August meeting. Pohl’s term as president expires Aug. 31.

Featuring an indoor climbing wall, indoor track, an array of weights and fitness equipment, a lap pool and a leisure pool, as well as an indoor soccer gymnasium and multi-purpose courts for basketball, volleyball and badminton, the 138,000-square-foot center is an award-winning space that was designed with students in mind.


Pohl greets Coretta Scott King during her 2005 visit to campus

“It is most fitting that the Student Recreation Center
— a building in the heart of the university campus, built to promote the physical and mental health of our students
— be named for Dr. Pohl who is widely acknowledged as the ‘student-centered’ president,” said Chancellor Lee Jackson when making the announcement at a May appreciation gala held in Pohl’s honor.


Norval Pohl congratulates the 2005 Homecoming queen and king, Amber Clark and Otis Uduebor


Pohl also will be remembered by future generations through an endowed scholarship created in his name by the UNT Foundation and members of the board of the North Texas Exes.

The university has changed significantly since Pohl’s appointment in 2000. The student population has grown from more than 27,000 to more than 32,000. This growth includes a 48 percent increase in Latino enrollment and a 43 percent increase in African American enrollment.

During the course of his presidency, Pohl has helped the university successfully navigate a higher education environment of difficult choices.


U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, right, was on hand in November 2003 to announce a $3.1 million appropriation for advanced research and technology at UNT. In January 2004, the UNT Research Park became the home of the new UNT College of Engineering.

His entrepreneurial qualities and leadership resulted in the formation of a UNT College of Engineering that is housed at the new UNT Research Park, improvements to the physical campus through beautification efforts and the construction of a number of new buildings, as well as the implementation of a shuttle bus system to make travel to and around campus easier, Jackson said at the gala.

Jackson also noted that a higher level of student and alumni pride has blossomed — showcased at the university’s football games where students, alumni and other fans cheer on the Mean Green. But Pohl’s work to improve the university’s athletic reputation and prowess didn’t start or stop with football.


The Chemistry Building, which opened in 2004, was one of several new buildings constructed during Pohl’s tenure.

The university developed the Mean Green Village on the new Eagle Point portion of campus during the past few years in order to provide state-of-the-art support services to the student-athletes as well as high-quality facilities for the women’s teams.

Most importantly, Jackson said, UNT launched the broadest strategic planning process in its history in 2004, providing a foundation that will position the university for progress in coming decades.


Norval Pohl displays the Eagle claw with his wife, Barbikay, and members of the Eagle Ambassadors in 2001


For Pohl, students remain the key.

“The history of UNT is best told in the success stories of our students — of hardships overcome, of perseverance and the development of life-long friendships, and ultimately of personal discovery,” he says.

“Working with these students has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I am convinced that by keeping our focus on them — by being a student-centered university — we guarantee a very bright future for UNT.”


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