AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents on Monday (Apr. 14) named Dr. Larry R. Kaiser the sole finalist for the presidency of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
The Board announced the decision during a special called meeting in which candidates were interviewed. Each candidate recently met several constituent groups within the health science center community in Houston in a series of campus visits. .
Dr. Kaiser  is chairman of the department of surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Dr. Kaiser joined the department of surgery at Penn in 1991, becoming head of the department in 2001. Previously, he held faculty appointments in surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Cornell University Medical College. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with high honors and a medical degree from Tulane University.
"Dr. Kaiser is a distinguished clinician and educator with outstanding credentials and a proven administrative track record capable of moving the UT Health Science Center - Houston to a higher level of prominence in medical care, teaching, and research,” said Regents' Chairman H. Scott Caven, Jr.  "The Board considers the selection of a campus president as one of its most important decisions. We have selected Dr. Kaiser from among an exemplary group of candidates, and on behalf of the Board I would like to thank all the candidates who have taken part in this important process," Caven said.
“We are absolutely delighted with the Board’s decision to name Dr. Kaiser the sole finalist for this extremely important position. We are grateful to the advisory committee for the outstanding job they did in reviewing a remarkable list of nominees and applicants and narrowing the field to representatives of the best in medicine and administration,” said Dr. Kenneth I. Shine , executive vice chancellor for health affairs and chair of the presidential search advisory committee.
Dr. Kaiser will succeed Dr. James T. Willerson, who announced last September his plans to step down as president of the institution when a successor has been named and is in place. Willerson, who has served as the president of the health science center for the past seven years, will become president of the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, succeeding Dr. Denton Cooley.
Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for a presidency at least 21 days before making an appointment. The board is tentatively scheduled to finalize the selection at its next quarterly meeting on May 14 - 15 in Tyler.
The UT Health Science Center – Houston is one of six health institutions and nine academic institutions that make up The University of Texas System, one of the nation’s largest higher education systems. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $10.7 billion (FY 2008) including $2.3 billion in research funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Student enrollment exceeded 194,000 in the 2007 academic year. The UT System educates nearly three-fourths of the state’s health care professionals and confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees. With more than 81,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.