ATU’s Gunter to Retire June 30

Dr. Mary B. Gunter Retirement News Release
Dr. Mary B. Gunter

Dr. Mary B. Gunter, chief of staff in the Arkansas Tech University Office of the President and distinguished professor of educational leadership at ATU, has announced she will retire on June 30, 2023.

“Dr. Gunter is one of the best and most influential educational leaders in the history of our state,” said Dr. Robin E. Bowen, ATU president. “She helped re-define K-12 education in Arkansas during her career in our public schools, and then she helped prepare subsequent generations of K-12 leaders through her efforts on the ATU faculty. Her work as chief of staff has been exemplary. I have benefited from her wise counsel as we have worked together as a university community to navigate the challenges of our times and remain true to our mission and vision. I will dearly miss the opportunity to work with Mary on a daily basis, but I am comforted by the fact that she will continue to be a positive influence in our community as she enjoys the spoils of a well-earned retirement.”

Among Gunter’s achievements during a quarter-century at ATU was envisioning, developing and implementing the first doctoral degree in the institution’s history. She also provided leadership for the accompanying change in role and scope for the institution through the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board that made it possible for ATU to offer doctoral degrees for the first time.

The ATU Doctor of Education degree in school leadership produced Arkansas Tech’s first doctoral graduates in spring 2017 and continues to enroll new cohorts of K-12 leaders on an annual basis.

“Arkansas Tech University is well positioned for the future under the leadership of President Bowen and the ATU Board of Trustees,” wrote Gunter in her retirement letter. “As the societal and economic drivers have impacted us, Dr. Bowen has been responsive in adjusting and employing forward thinking to position and align the university with the needs of its constituency base. I know it hasn’t been easy at times. But, she has the courage and tenacity to keep us moving forward.

“As I complete my 25th year at Arkansas Tech University, I truly believe some of our best years and work are ahead of us,” continued Gunter. “I have served under two presidents and numerous board members, all who gave me opportunities to contribute back to the institution. And, for that, I will always be grateful.”

Prior to joining ATU, Gunter served in public schools as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and educational co-op director. She was also director of the Arkansas Governor’s Partnership on Education.

Upon her arrival at Arkansas Tech in 1998, Gunter set about establishing the ATU Center for Leadership and Learning. The center is dedicated to producing innovative problem solvers at all levels of K-12 school leadership through graduate study.

Gunter was a member of the project development team and has served as director of Leadership Tech, a program designed to build leadership capacity and serve as professional development for faculty and staff at Arkansas Tech.

She was also instrumental in establishing Arkansas Tech’s leadership minor at the undergraduate level.

Gunter took on new leadership roles of her own, adding the title of dean of the ATU Graduate College in 2009 and dean of the ATU College of Education in 2015.

She moved into the role of chief of staff in the ATU Office of the President in 2018. She holds membership on the ATU executive council, drives continuous pursuit of goals outlined in the university strategic plan and assists Bowen in building and strengthening partnerships designed to facilitate student access and success.

Gunter earned bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees in education from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She is a member of the Hall of Honor at Fort Osage High School in Independence, Mo., the 2019-20 Great American Conference faculty mentor of the year and the 2018 AdvancED Arkansas Excellence in Education Award winner.

Upon her transition from faculty to administration at ATU, the City of Russellville observed Aug. 17, 2018, as Dr. Mary B. Gunter Appreciation Day.

“As I leave my position at Tech, I will continue to support the vision and mission of this institution,” wrote Gunter. “I am a first-generation graduate of high school and college and value the impact the university has on similar students who choose to attend Tech. Because of the commitment of administration, faculty and staff, these students have the opportunities for their dreams to become reality.

“Over the past 25 years, I have made Russellville my home and hope to be involved in new and different ways with our university and community,” continued Gunter. “It will always be my pleasure to serve.”