University VP Paul Oliaro announces retirement

Dr. Paul M. Oliaro, Fresno State’s vice president for Student Affairs, has  announced he will retire Dec. 31, 2013.

This fall semester will be his final in a 42-year career in the student affairs profession spanning four colleges – the last 11 years at Fresno State. His career accomplishments have earned national recognition for his work in student affairs and drug and alcohol abuse issues, including serving as the president of the American College Personnel Association, the leading national organization for Student Affairs professionals.

Oliaro, 65, informed President Joseph I. Castro that he wishes to spend more time with his family.

“After numerous extraordinary experiences and heart-warming memories at Fresno State and in the Student Affairs profession, I have indicated to Dr. Castro that I would like to retire at the end of the fall semester,” Oliaro said.

President Castro said he “reluctantly accepted” Oliaro’s request and praised the vice president for his extraordinary work and contributions to the university and community.

“While I would have liked him to stay on longer, he believes it is time to wrap up his 42 years in the Student Affairs profession and spend more time with his wife Kathy, their children and grandchildren,” the president said. “I know our University Community joins me in expressing our respect and admiration for Dr. Oliaro, and our well-wishes as he moves into retirement.”

Castro said a search for a successor will begin as soon as possible.

Oliaro joined Fresno State in August 2002. He serves on the President’s Cabinet with the university’s three other vice presidents and the athletic director.

The vice president for Student Affairs directs some of the largest areas of university operations with 190 employees and 25 student services offices and programs: enrollment services, university health and psychological services, several federal student programs, migrant services, campus discipline, academic advising, EOP and other academic support services, student involvement/student activities,  a student recreation center, career services, the women’s center, services for students with disabilities and the University Student Union.

Bernie Vinovrski, Fresno State’s associate vice president of Enrollment Services under Oliaro, said the vice president’s legacy is grounded in basics:

“He viewed his job humbly — helping students get into college and supporting them with good services while they are in college so they can succeed and graduate,” Vinovrski said. “For example, his work with first generation college students on each of the campuses in which he has served is testimony to his commitment to helping students complete their degree.”

Oliaro co-chairs the Student Success Task Force with the university provost and chairs the university’s Alcohol Advisory Council. In 2004, he received the California State University “Leadership Excellence Award” for his efforts to reduce alcohol abuse among college students and last April received the Chancellor’s Award for his leadership in alcohol education within the CSU.

Oliaro has assisted in other areas of administration at Fresno State. In 2003, he provided leadership to the technology services area and in 2005 served as interim athletic director. He chaired the board of directors of the Athletic Corporation, which oversees the fiscal operations of the athletic program and served as a Bulldog Foundation trustee.

Prior to Fresno State, Oliaro spent nine years as vice president for Student Affairs at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He started his career at Michigan State University in 1971.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Mary’s College in Minnesota, a master’s degree in education with a major in student personnel work from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Michigan State.

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Tom Uribes

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Public Affairs Specialist, University Communications
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