Jim Petro, Chancellor of Ohio Board of Regents, announced Monday morning his plans to retire from public service, effective Feb. 1.
The 64-year-old, Cleveland suburb native was appointed to the Board of Regents by Ohio Gov. John Kasich in March 2011.
Petro oversees the University System of Ohio, which includes 14 universities, 23 community colleges and more than 140 adult-education programs and is one of the largest systems for public higher education in the nation.
“I appreciate Jim’s work to help our administration bring valuable improvements to the way Ohioans prepare for careers after they leave high school,” Kasich said in a released statement. “He’s helped change a system that needed changing and has been a committed advocate for Ohioans of all ages who want to learn, upgrade their skills and make their futures brighter.”
In his two years as chancellor, Petro led initiatives to increase commercialization opportunities for ideas and products at universities, increase the number of students completing degrees in higher education and consolidate technology systems into one database, the Ohio Technology Consortium, according to a press release.
No one has been named as Petro’s replacement as chancellor at this time, said Ohio Board of Regents spokesman Jeff Robinson.
After retiring, Petro is planning an international book tour for the book he and his wife, Nancy, co-authored, “False Justice.” The book focuses on the wrongly accused by detailing eight myths that lead to wrongful convictions. The book was inspired by the case of Clarence Elkins, a Northeastern Ohio man who was wrongly accused of rape and murder and served six years in prison.
Petro advocated on Elkins’ behalf for the use of DNA evidence, which later exonerated Elkins from the crimes.
Petro has spent 28 years as an elected official, 12 of which were spent as Ohio Attorney General and Ohio Auditor of State.
He has also previously served as commissioner of Cuyahoga County and city councilman and law director for Rocky River, a suburb near Cleveland.
Petro ran for governor of Ohio in 2006 but lost the Republican gubernatorial nomination to Kenneth Blackwell. Blackwell would lose the seat to Ted Strickland.
Petro earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and earned a law degree from Case Western Reserve University.