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Karr unanimous choice for UAH president

TUSCALOOSA — Dr. Charles L. “Chuck” Karr is no longer the “interim” president of the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

He is the president.

Karr had the interim label removed today when the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees unanimously named him president of UAH.

UA System Chancellor Finis St. John recommended the appointment to the UA System Board of Trustees at its meeting today.
“Furthering the success of UAH is a top priority for the University of Alabama System and the Board of Trustees,” St. John said. “Dr. Karr’s sustained leadership will bring positive momentum and a strategic, unified vision to UAH as it continues its trajectory as a preeminent doctoral research university in one of America’s fastest-growing and most robust regions.”
Before being appointed interim president of UAH in November 2021, Karr had retired from the University of Alabama after 26 years of service.
“It is my highest honor to lead UAH as we work to fulfill our institutional mission as a premier research-intensive university that is responsive to the needs of the community and beyond,” Karr said. “I am grateful for this incredible opportunity and look forward to working with all those driving UAH toward unprecedented success, including the Board of Trustees, Chancellor St. John, our faculty and staff, students, and leaders throughout the Huntsville community.
“There are many exciting things happening on the UAH campus, and I know there is much more to come in our future.”
St. John said Karr had strong support from faculty and staff, students, community leaders, elected officials and other constituents during his tenure as interim president.
“The enthusiastic support within the institution and throughout the broader community is a proven testament to Dr. Karr and the success he has already achieved at UAH,” said St. John.
One of Karr’s hallmark accomplishments as interim president has been his keen ability to strengthen partnerships with leaders across the Huntsville area. Relationships with Redstone Arsenal, Cummings Research Park, business and the education sector are flourishing under his watch.
This year, UAH achieved the top level “R1 – Very high research activity” rank in Carnegie research classifications, which is the highest research activity designation among doctoral universities.
Under Karr’s leadership, UAH received one of the most significant appropriations in university history for its engineering building project, which will allow UAH to advance its flagship program, foster innovative and impactful research efforts, and address critical STEM workforce needs.
“Dr. Chuck Karr is quite possibly the most dynamic leader that I have ever been associated with, in higher education and beyond,” said Trustee Ron Gray, chair of the UAH Committee of the UA System Board of Trustees. “I am certain that under Dr. Karr’s leadership, UAH will not only reach its full potential but far surpass our expectations.”
As interim president, Karr oversaw recruiting faculty and strategic leaders as well as securing merit raises for eligible UAH employees in FY 2023. Institutional giving has doubled during his tenure.
“Dr. Chuck Karr has exhibited the highest degree of excellence in every stage of his extensive and impressive academic career,” said Board of Trustees President Pro Tem W. Stancil Starnes. “The appointment of a campus president is one of the most important actions taken by the Board of Trustees. We have the utmost confidence in Dr. Karr and know he will be an invaluable asset to UAH, the University of Alabama System, and the state of Alabama.”
During his 16-year tenure as dean of the University of Alabama College of Engineering, Karr was credited with transforming the college into a research and academic powerhouse that ascended in national rankings.
He chaired UA’s aerospace engineering and mechanics department and was the college’s associate dean for research and graduate studies. He spent seven years as a research engineer with the U.S. Bureau of Mines before joining the UA faculty full time.
Karr is a three-time UA graduate, earning a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and a master’s and Ph.D. in engineering mechanics.
A native of Gulf Breeze, Fla., Karr and his wife, Jodie, live in Huntsville and have two adult children, Nathan and Noah.

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