Neville Pinto named UC's 30th president

Posted at 11:24 AM, Dec 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-17 13:47:08-05

>>Watch the entire news conference in the media player above.

CINCINNATI -- The University of Cincinnati tapped a veteran of higher education who spent 26 years as a Bearcat to be the school's 30th president.

Neville G. Pinto is expected to start the new job in February. UC's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint him president at a special meeting Saturday morning.

He'll lead one of the nation’s top public research universities, with more than 44,300 students, more than $390 million in research funding annually and a $1.2 billion endowment.

"The one simple question I have that I always ask: Is it good for the students? That's how I make my decisions. That's all," Pinto said. "That's my leadership style, and it's amazing at how easy it is to lead an institution with that clarity."

Pinto is currently interim president at University of Louisville, but he began his career at UC decades ago, in 1985. At UC, he worked his way up from professor of chemical engineering to become dean of the graduate school.

He left in 2011 to serve as dean of Louisville's Speed School of Engineering. But, UC Board Chair Rob Richardson Jr. said, Pinto never really left Cincinnati behind.

"He's always been a Bearcat," Richardson said.

Richardson and the board drew criticism from UC's faculty union for failing to publicly name the candidates they considered during a monthslong search process.

Pinto takes over from Interim President Beverly Davenport, who accepted an offer to be chancellor of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Former UC president Santa Ono left over the summer to become president and vice chancellor at the University of British Columbia. 

More on Pinto, from UC:

"As the acting president of UofL, Pinto led a metropolitan research university with an enrollment of 22,000 students in 11 colleges and schools on three campuses and a downtown Health Sciences Center. As its engineering school dean, Pinto expanded enrollment, initiated the development of a 39-acre research park near the engineering college and built stronger ties to GE. He also led efforts to encourage GE to bring its FirstBuild microfactory to the UofL campus. FirstBuild is a new-product accelerator that rapidly transforms ideas for new products into prototypes for testing. In effect, the center throws open the doors of innovation to anyone with good ideas and gets those good ideas out to market quickly. One of its recent successes is the Opal countertop ice maker. ...

"At UC, Pinto served from 1985 to 2011 as a faculty member in chemical engineering and established the Adsorption and Ion Exchange Laboratory, which attracted over $6 million in external research funding for research in biochemical and environmental engineering. In addition to his accomplishments as a researcher, he established himself as a rising academic administrator, first as department head of chemical engineering from 1993 to 1997 and as assistant dean for Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering and Applied Science from 2002 to 2006. He was then tapped as the vice provost and dean of The Graduate School, playing a leadership role in attracting external awards of over $10 million to support graduate and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. In 2011, he left UC for the opportunity to become dean of engineering at Louisville.

"He remained dean of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering at Louisville for four years and was named UofL’s interim executive vice president and provost in May 2015. He was chosen to serve as provost permanently in June 2016.  During his time as provost, he finalized the 21st Century University Plan and launched major initiatives to strengthen educational excellence, student success and access, research and community engagement. In late July 2016, he was tapped as Louisville’s acting president."

WCPO will update this story.