Former Texas Tech President to Head New University at Border

Former Texas Tech President to Head New University at Border

Guy Bailey, former Texas Tech University president, was selected by the University of Texas (UT) Board of Regents to head up the newly-formed University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).

The Austin American-Statesman reported that the vote by the nine-member UT System Board of Regents was unanimous. This announcement was made on April 28 because Texas law requires that the finalist’s name be made public at least 21 days before a president is selected.

According to the Texas Tribune, the new campus was formed through the merger of the University of Texas at Brownsville and the University of Texas-Pan American. UTRGV will begin enrollment in Fall 2015 and will also include a medical school.

The Regents had previously approved combining the two UT’s. The border region of south Texas has long been considered underserved and the resources of the combined university are expected to help address some of those shortcomings.

Bailey was chosen based upon a long series of his exceptional accomplishments in higher education, according to UT System Board of Regents chairman Paul Foster.

“University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s unique and innovative environment, which will integrate next-generation technology and customized learning to increase access and affordability for all students, calls for a visionary leader like Dr. Bailey,” Foster said.

“We initially saw his tremendous leadership first-hand when he served as provost of UT San Antonio, and we were impressed with continued successes at Texas Tech and Missouri. We are thrilled to welcome him back to the UT System,” Foster added.

In a statement released by the university system, Bailey said, “I view this role as the single most exciting educational opportunity in America today,” the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported.

Presently, Bailey is a professor of linguistics at the University of Alabama, although he was institution’s president as well. He resigned that post in 2012 just two months after accepting the position to care for his then ill wife, who passed away later that same year, in September.

Bailey holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from the University of Alabama and a doctorate in English linguistics from the University of Tennessee. He is the author of about 100 books and articles.

While serving as Texas Tech president for four years, Bailey was instrumental in leading the university on its successful quest to become eligible for the state’s National Research University Fund, according to the Valley Crier and Edinburg News.

In addition, as UT Austin provost, Bailey doubled the external funding for research while increasing the school’s enrollment by more than 40 percent, Texas Tech Today noted.

For the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UKMC), Bailey served as chancellor between 2006-08. He oversaw the completion of a $200 million capital campaign and created about $10 million in administrative savings that was put into the core academic mission of the university, including raising salaries to attract and retain faculty, according to Texas Tech Today. Approximately $175 million in new construction was approved using primarily public/private funding partnerships under his leadership. 

UMKC houses schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and law. Bailey developed an action plan designed to make the institution a model research university.

The Valley Town Crier and the Edinburg News also reported comments from UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. in their Bailey announcement coverage. 

Cigarroa stated the importance of the Board of Regents choosing the right leader to head up UTRGV. He looked forward to the newest UT campus having a monumental impact regionally, nationally and even internationally in the generations to come. Cigarroa also cited Bailey’s familiarity with Texas and the UT System and Bailey’s experiences in overseeing a university with a medical school as criteria as a huge plus.

“This is the first new university in the U.S. in the 21st century,” Foster also told KXAN. “We think we’ve found the right guy.”

Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom