Saturday’s announcement that Jo Ann Gora, Ball State University’s fourteenth president, will retire in June 2014 came on her own terms. “It has been a rewarding and fulfilling career, especially these years in Indiana,” she said in a statement released by the school. Gora will step away from the spotlight—sometimes harsh, always bright—that has been on her since May 2004, when she was named as the first female president of a public university in this state.
Gora has certainly taken Ball State to new heights insofar as academic performance, facility builds, environmental innovation, and national recognition are concerned. Ambitious, blonde, and petite, she has often been seen at public events and in Ball State TV commercials sporting either a red-leather jacket (a la Sarah Palin in 2008) or a blue power suit (decidedly Hillary Clinton-esque).
Below is a look at her life and career by the numbers, plus a sampling of the tweets that greeted her announcement with perspective and humor.
What are your own thoughts on Gora’s impending exit?
68 — Gora’s age
66 — Hillary Clinton’s age. Her birthday is Oct. 26, the date on which Gora held a press conference about her coming retirement.
10 — Years that Gora has been Ball State president
40 — Years in which Gora has worked in higher education, including time at University of Massachusetts—Boston and Old Dominion University
$985,000 — Gora’s salary, including deferred compensation and incentives, during the 2011-2012 school year (exact dollar amount: $984,647)
$430,000 — Gora’s base salary during that time
5th — The total salary’s spot among all U.S. college and university presidents during that same time
$150,000 — The cost of the posh inauguration ceremony that Gora called off, opting to use the funds for student scholarships
75,000 — Square footage of the David Letterman Communication and Media Building on the Muncie campus, a landmark addition during Gora’s leadership
$200 million — Goal of Ball State’s most recent capital campaign
$210.8 million — Actual total of that campaign’s haul, announced in 2011
$520 million-plus — Cost of renovations to and construction of Ball State facilities during Gora’s tenure
$70 million — Cost, embedded in that previous total, of Ball State’s new geothermal plant that taps into the earth’s own temperature. Per Forbes, it’s “the largest closed geothermal energy system in the United States, which will result in substantially reduced heating and cooling costs and benefit the environment by replacing existing coal-fired boilers.”