Press director announces retirement for Feb. 2011

Shivam Purohit

After 18 years of service, Joanna Hitchcock, director of the University of Texas Press, will retire from her position in February 2011.

UT Provost Steven Leslie will appoint an interim director who will temporarily take over after her retirement while a national search for a new director occurs.

“There is never a perfect time to leave a job that you love,” Hitchcock said in a statement.

Hitchcock joined the UT Press in 1992, after serving as the executive editor for the humanities and assistant director of the Princeton University Press. Under her leadership, UT Press books have won approximately 300 awards for content and 70 for excellence in design and production.

Hitchcock said she enjoys working at the UT Press because of its size and the wide range of topics published by the press, including original research and ethnic studies.

“We not only publish for academia but also for the people of Texas,” she said. “At UT, you get to know all the staff, the books, and many of the authors.”

Several UT Press staff members were surprised by the news, UT Press sponsoring editor Jim Burr said.

“She announced it to us earlier this week, and we are all in a bit of shock trying to imagine what the future will be like without her,” he said.

Burr has worked for the Press for 14 years, all of which were under her directorship.

“She has been very good about really supporting the editorial staff here, while still giving us guidance about the books we acquire and possess,” he said. “I think she has built a great environment here at the Press, and that is certainly something that we are all very grateful for.”

UT Press assistant director and editor in chief Theresa J. May has worked 18 of her 32 years at the Press under Hitchcock. She said Hitchcock was critical in the development of an endowment campaign that has allowed the Press to expand.

“We are poised to move up even farther, building on what has been accomplished during her tenure here, and I know she will watch with justifiable pride as her visions and dreams for the Press continue to be realized in the coming years,” May said.