AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents today (Feb. 8) elected new officers at its board meeting in Austin.
Wm. Eugene “Gene” Powell  of San Antonio was named chairman of the UT System Board of Regents. Powell succeeds Colleen McHugh of Corpus Christi, who has served as chairman since March of last year. Paul L. Foster  of El Paso, R. Steven “Steve” Hicks  of Austin and James D. Dannenbaum  of Houston each were named vice chairmen of the Board.
“As an alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin, I cannot imagine a greater privilege than to serve as chairman of the UT System Board of Regents,” Powell said. “I am honored that my colleagues on the Board have entrusted me with this tremendous responsibility of guiding the service our outstanding institutions provide to our students and their parents. Our UT academic and health institutions are among the best in the nation and world, and our board and new officers will continue to make the people of Texas proud of what we do in their name.”
Powell was appointed to the UT System Board of Regents in 2009 by Gov. Rick Perry. Powell serves on the Facilities Planning and Construction Committee, the Finance and Planning Committee and the Health Affairs Committee. He also serves as the regental representative on the Texas Growth Fund Board of Trustees. In addition, Powell is a member of the Special Advisory Committee on the Brackenridge Tract.
Raised in Weslaco, Texas, Powell is a native of the Rio Grande Valley. He earned a bachelor's degree in finance at The University of Texas at Austin while on a full athletic scholarship playing football under Coach Darrell K Royal. He later earned a master's degree in finance from UT Austin before returning to the valley.
In 1983, he moved to San Antonio to become president of The Quincy Lee Company, which, at the time, was the largest commercial real estate development company in San Antonio. In 1987, Powell formed The Powell Companies, a real estate brokerage company and, with his partner, Laddie Denton, formed Bitterblue, Inc. Today Bitterblue, Inc. is one of San Antonio’s leading real estate developers. Powell also is co-founder of AirStrip Technologies, along with Trey Moore and Cameron Powell. AirStrip is a medical software company that transmits patient wave form data from the hospital to a doctor via smart phone or tablet device, wherever there is a cell connection. Powell served as founding CEO of AirStrip for six years and today serves as chairman of the board.
Foster was appointed to the UT System Board of Regents in 2007 by Gov. Rick Perry. He has been a vice chairman of the Board since 2009. He is the chairman of the Finance and Planning Committee and serves as a member of the Academic Affairs Committee as well as the Audit, Compliance and Management Review Committee. Foster serves as the chairman of the Board of Directors of The University of Texas Investment Management Co.
Foster is president and chief executive officer of Western Refining Company. He graduated with a degree in accounting from Baylor University and received certification by the Arizona State Board of Accountancy.
Hicks was appointed to the UT System Board of Regents in 2009 by Gov. Rick Perry. He chairs the Audit, Compliance, and Management Review Committee. In addition, he serves on the Facilities Planning and Construction Committee as well as the Student, Faculty, and Staff Campus Life Committee. Hicks is also the Board’s athletics liaison.
Hicks owns and serves as executive chairman of Capstar Partners, LLC, a private investment firm. Capstar Partners is the controlling shareholder in DMX, Inc., a company engaged in the provision of business media services, including video, music and scent technologies; Andrew Harper, a high-end travel publishing and services firm; and Harden Healthcare, a company engaged in the skilled nursing, home health, and related fields. He graduated with a degree in government from UT Austin.
Dannenbaum was appointed to the UT System Board of Regents in 2007 by Gov. Rick Perry. He is chairman of the Student, Faculty, and Staff Campus Life Committee and serves on the Health Affairs Committee as well as the Facilities Planning and Construction Committee. He also serves on the Board for Lease of University Lands and is the liaison to the Governor's Office on Technology Transfer and Commercialization Issues.
Dannenbaum, chairman of Dannenbaum Engineering Corporation, is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Consulting Engineers Council of Texas, Inc., and the Texas Society of Professional Engineers. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UT Austin.
Established by the Texas Constitution in 1876, the Board of Regents is composed of nine voting members who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Terms for Regents are scheduled for six years and staggered so that three members' terms usually expire on February 1 of odd-numbered years. In addition, the Governor appoints a Student Regent for a one-year term that expires on May 31 of each year.
About The University of Texas System
The University of Texas System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $12.8 billion (FY 2011) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 202,000 in the 2009 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. With more than 84,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.