Former UA President Luis Proenza inducted into NEO Business Hall of Fame


University of Akron

Dr. Luis Proenza

By Sara Syed, Writer

Former UA President Luis M. Proenza was inducted into the 2014 Northeast Ohio Business Hall of Fame on Nov. 6 for his part in transforming the university and the City of Akron during his 15 years as president.

According to the Hall of Fame’s website, the honorees inducted have helped to created Northeast Ohio’s industries and shaped the area’s economic landscape.

Proenza’s term as president began in 1999 after serving as the dean of the graduate school at The University of Alaska for seven years and at Purdue University as the vice president for research and as the dean of the graduate school.

According to, UA alumni remember the campus as being a downtown commuter campus with dim, medieval lighting in the Student Union. It has been transformed into a socially appealing atmosphere complete with a bowling alley, movie theater and many food options.

The initial plan to renovate downtown Akron, specifically the area near the university, only called for a $200 million, six building investment. However, during Proenza’s tenure, 22 new buildings and 34 acres of green space totaling $640 million were established. The investment has brought more activity into the university by nearly doubling its enrollment from 18,000 students in 1999 to 30,000 enrolled in 2011.

Before the end of Proenza’s time at UA, he introduced the corrosion engineering program and created the National Polymer Innovation Center.