|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.
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.
“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.
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.
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 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.
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.”