William A. Staples became the fourth president of University of Houston-Clear Lake in 1995. During Staples’ 17 years as president, UH-Clear Lake has built vital partnerships, developed new academic programs and expanded the university’s endowment. His leadership has set the stage for key initiatives that have taken the UHCL experience beyond the classroom and into the community.
Staples joined UHCL in 1979 as an associate professor of marketing and was promoted to professor of marketing in 1984. Before his presidency, he served the School of Business as coordinator, program director, associate dean and dean.
Major initiatives during Staples’ tenure as UHCL president include the establishment of the UHCL Pearland Campus in partnership with the City of Pearland, the introduction of UHCL’s first doctoral program in educational leadership, the offering of undergraduate and graduate programs in healthcare administration in the Texas Medical Center, and the increase in the university’s number of endowments from 74 in 1999 to 151 in 2012. The most significant new initiative for UH-Clear Lake will occur in fall 2014 when UHCL transitions from an upper-level to a four-year university.
UHCL has received numerous national recognitions from various organizations including the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for community engagement in 2008, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education in 2009, and the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for 2009, 2010 and 2011. UHCL has also been designated a Hispanic-serving institution by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.
Staples’ community affiliations include service on the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership board of directors, and as chairman of the board in 2003 and 2004. He is a member of the advisory board of Communities In Schools Bay Area and the Board of Advisors for the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement. He previously served on the boards of the Armand Bayou Nature Center, the Clear Creek Education Foundation and the E.A.Smith YMCA.
Staples served on the board of trustees for the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) from 2009 to 2011 and in 2009 served as chair of the board of trustees for SACS following his service as vice chair in 2008. He was on the executive committees of the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities and the Texas Council of Public University Presidents and Chancellors.
He has been recognized for his work including being chosen as the recipient of the NASA Public Service Medal in 2003, being selected as the 2005 E. A. Smith YMCA Community of Stars Gala honoree, honored by the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership with the 2008 Quasar Award for Economic Development Excellence and given the 2010 George B. Carlisle Award by the Clear Creek Education Foundation.
Staples earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Drake University in 1970, a master of business administration from University of Iowa in 1972, and a doctorate in business administration from University of Houston in 1977.