UT Austin presidential committee announced

University of Texas System Board of Regents Chairman Kevin P. Eltife has announced members of a committee that will provide input on Jay Hartzell, the sole finalist being considered to be the next president of The University of Texas at Austin. The committee will offer comment and assessment on Hartzell’s academic, administrative and business experiences and abilities in preparation for the permanent role.

“We are selecting the next president of one of our nation’s most prestigious universities, and the Regents are eager to receive guidance and input from all sectors of the UT Austin community,” Eltife said. “We are grateful to these individuals for contributing their perspectives, and we look forward to hearing their thoughts on Dr. Hartzell’s leadership and how UT Austin will navigate immediate challenges while continuing to advance its long term aspirations in the academic, research, and clinical enterprises.”

Regents named Hartzell, who has been serving as interim president of UT Austin since June, the sole finalist earlier this month. In doing so, Regents applied an alternative presidential selection process, citing Dr. Hartzell’s record of accomplishments and the need for strong leadership and continuity, as well as the importance of addressing critical challenges during the pandemic, preparing for the upcoming legislative session, and positioning UT Austin for success in the post-pandemic period.

The alternative process allows the Board Chairman to appoint a special committee to offer advice and evaluation of a candidate identified by the Board of Regents. Representation on the committee is the same as a traditional Presidential Search Advisory Committee but does not include any members of the Board of Regents, per Regents’ Rule 20201, Section 1.9.

Members of the UT Austin special committee will include:

  • Chair of Committee: Kenneth M. Jastrow, II, director of KB Home, MGIC Investment Corporation, and Genesis Energy LLC
  • UT System: Steve Leslie, Ph.D., executive vice chancellor of academic affairs
  • Presidents of other UT institutions: Taylor Eighmy, Ph.D., president of UT San Antonio, and Heather Wilson, Ph.D., president of UT El Paso
  • UT Austin dean, faculty, and staff: Claudia Mora, Ph.D., dean, Jackson School of Geosciences; Brian Evans, Ph.D., professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Charlotte Canning, Ph.D., professor, Department of Theatre and Dance; Domino R. Perez, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of English; and Rainbow Di Benedetto, principal software developer analyst, Enterprise Business Information Technology Solutions
  • UT Austin student and alumnus: Vinit Shah, public health major, College of Natural Sciences, and Robert Estrada, president, Texas Exes, and senior managing director and chief compliance officer–Dallas, Estrada Hinojosa and Company
  • External and community members: The Honorable Ron Kirk, senior of counsel, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Dallas and Washington, D.C. offices; and Letty Fernandez, community relations liaison, UT Rio Grande Valley

Eltife said the committee plans to hold its first meeting soon.