The University of Texas System Board of Regents Thursday elected Paul Foster the new Chairman of the Board.
Foster, of El Paso, was appointed to the Board of Regents in November 2007 and was reappointed to a six-year term this past February. The executive chairman of Western Refining Inc is a former member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and serves on many local and statewide boards.
“I look forward to working with the Chancellor and the System staff and all the presidents and their staff,” Foster said. “I recognize that we’re here for the students and the future of this great state. I’m ready to get to work.”
Foster succeeds Gene Powell of San Antonio, who was appointed to the Board of Regents in 2009 and was elected Chairman in February 2011.
“Chairman Powell’s tenure over the past two years has been defined by his passion and drive to improve student access and success,” Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa said. “This was exemplified by his tremendous leadership during the development of a plan to establish a new university and medical school for South Texas. I could not have asked for a better partner in our efforts to transform education and health care for the Rio Grande Valley.”
Cigarroa also praised Powell for his significant contributions during the development of the Framework for Advancing Excellence, the action plan to advance the UT System’s 15 institutions to higher levels of excellence. Powell formed both the Task Force on Productivity and Excellence and the Task Force on Blended and Online Learning, whose recommendations were important in the development of the Framework, Cigarroa said.
Also on Thursday, Powell and Regent Steve Hicks were elected to serve as Vice Chairmen, and new members of the Board of Regents were introduced and welcomed.
Regent Ernest Aliseda and Regent Jeffery Hildebrand were appointed to six-year terms by Governor Rick Perry in February, and Student Regent Nash Horne was appointed to a one-year term.
“We look forward to working with all of the new regents, who already have established records of public service and commitment to community,” Powell said. “They are outstanding additions to the Board of Regents who will greatly benefit the UT System and our mission to advance excellence in higher education.”
Regent Aliseda is the managing attorney for the Loya Insurance Group, a municipal court judge for the city of McAllen and a major in the U.S. Army Reserves, Judge Advocate General Corps. Regent Aliseda has held numerous leadership positions in professional and civic organizations and is also an author and frequent lecturer on various topics. He earned his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.
Regent Hildebrand of Houston is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Hilcorp Energy Company, one of the nation’s major oil and gas producers. Regent Hildebrand holds a bachelor’s degree in geology and a master’s degree in petroleum engineering, both from The University of Texas at Austin. He is actively involved in numerous civic organizations and was the recipient of the 2005 Distinguished Engineering Graduate and the 2013 Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering Alumnus Awards from UT Austin.
Regent Horne, a fourth-year undergraduate student at UT Austin, is majoring in political communications and has held several leadership positions with UT Student Government. He also was instrumental in the establishment of UT’s Bastrop Fire Relief effort and the Jessica Fertitta Endowment Fund. After completing his degree, Regent Horne plans to pursue a law degree.
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2012 enrollment of roughly 216,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.9 billion (FY 2013) including $3.1 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.