Northern Kentucky University lost one of its best April 10, as former president Dr. Arnold DeWald Albright passed away at the age of 96. He is survived by his wife, Grace. Albright served as president of NKU from 1976-1983, a critical time for the young university.
Yet, Albright saw NKU prosper, overlooking $40 million in construction projects and seeing the student body grow to more than 10,000 in his tenure. The campus saw many changes during the time Albright led NKU, including new classroom buildings, the first on-campus student housing and the health center, subsequently named after him.
With the university being in its early stages and challenges on hand, Albright saw great potential in NKU.
‘The institution is not set in concrete,’ he said during his seventh year as president, according to a press release by NKU. ‘It does not have 100 years of history to overcome that we can’t develop innovative and imaginative programs to address our current needs and the future. We are not steeped so heavily in what was.’
In an e-mail sent out’ April 10, President James Votruba acknowledged what Albright went through during those times.
‘The university’s early years were full of challenges,’ Votruba said. ‘[Albright] approached each one with a steadfast commitment to core academic values and a deep respect for the faculty and staff who were responsible for moving the university forward.’
Votruba added, ‘I cannot fully express the deep sense of loss our university is feeling. I visited Dr. Albright earlier this year and he demonstrated the same wisdom, insight and humility that characterized his leadership at NKU.’
Albright’s impact on education is’ displayed throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
‘He helped shape Kentucky higher education and he impacted countless lives through his devotion to education,’ Votruba said.
Albright set out four goals to complete during his stay at NKU. Those goals included developing a high-quality undergraduate program, enhancing professional studies, promoting research and other services for the community and experimenting with innovative programs.
He also helped develop the Honors program.
‘We were an open-admission university in the 1970s and ’80s, and the Honors program was an excellent way, and still is, to attract outstanding students who’ might sway away from a state university,’ Dr. Thomas Zaniello said in a press release from the university. Albright retired as president of NKU in 1983, but didn’t stay retired for long. He came out of retirement in 1986 to serve in the same position at Morehead State University. Albright their declining enrollment.
Ken Lucas, the former chair for NKU Board of Regents said, according to a press release, ‘A.D. Albright did a great service for the university, serving as president at a turning point in our university. He was a real gentleman and very scholarly ‘hellip; Higher education in Kentucky has lost a real pioneer.’