April 16, 2010
The University of North Texas System Board of Regents today appointed V. Lane Rawlins, the former president of Washington State University and the University of Memphis, to serve as the University of North Texas' president for the 2010-11 academic year.
Rawlins' appointment will take effect on May 14, 2010, and he is expected to serve as president through the summer of 2011 during the System's national search for a new president for its flagship university.
Rawlins will replace Phil C. Diebel, who was appointed to serve as UNT's interim president following the February 2010 resignation of Dr. Gretchen M. Bataille.
As president of Washington State from 2000 to 2007, Rawlins led the creation of a strategic plan that guided the university's drive for educational and research excellence. His leadership resulted in WSU's substantial growth in research funding and recognition; increased enrollment of academically talented students; a more diverse student body; and a stronger statewide presence, while supporting local and regional needs for economic growth through its multiple campus locations. His administration advocated for the connection between outstanding undergraduate education and world-class research. Rawlins also strengthened WSU's image and reputation as one of the nation's leading public research universities.
UNT System Chancellor Lee F. Jackson expressed confidence in Rawlins' ability to lead UNT and to advance the university on the pathway defined by the university's strategic and research plans.
"Dr. Rawlins has a proven record of successes in key areas of importance to UNT and its future," Jackson said. "With his knowledge and experience, he is well equipped to help the university put in place the necessary tools to fulfill its academic and research aspirations. He cares deeply about the mission of public universities and he brings a warm and collaborative leadership style that will be invaluable for UNT."
Rawlins observed that the hundreds of millions of dollars set aside by the state of Texas to raise its emerging research universities to national university status is an enormous opportunity for UNT, especially at a time when many of the nation's other public universities have experienced major budget cuts.
"UNT is at an exciting and pivotal point in its history," Rawlins said. "While institutions of higher education in some states are struggling, the state of Texas is bolstering its emerging public research universities and providing them with the opportunity to achieve Tier One status."
"UNT appears to have the energy and ambition to embrace this challenge, and I am pleased to lead the university as it takes its first steps on the journey of becoming a national research university. I'm grateful to WSU President Elson Floyd for making me aware of this opportunity."
Chancellor Jackson also expressed his appreciation for Diebel's loyalty to the university and willingness to briefly set aside his retirement to serve as an interim president.
"Phil's unique knowledge of UNT and higher education has been an irreplaceable asset for us during this period of transition. He ensured that university projects continued to progress," Jackson said. "The Board and I are grateful for his service and commitment to the university."
Following his retirement from the WSU presidency, Rawlins served from 2007 to 2009 as the interim director of the William D. Ruckelshaus Center for Conflict Resolution, a regional program of WSU and the University of Washington. Rawlins served as president of the University of Memphis from 1991 to 2000. He also served as the University of Alabama System's vice chancellor for academic affairs, and WSU's vice provost and department chair in economics.
He twice served on the NCAA's Board of Directors and as chair of the Pac-10, Conference USA and Great Mid-West athletic conferences. He has served on the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the Governor's Council on Global Competitiveness and more than 20 other boards, including Boy Scouts of America, United Way and WKNO National Public Radio.
Rawlins has focused much of his academic research on labor economics (especially the effects of education on earnings in people's lives) and public policy. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Rawlins is a native of southeast Idaho. He and his wife, Mary Jo Rawlins, have three children and 11 grandchildren.
The search for a new long-term UNT president was launched earlier this month with the announcement of formation of a Presidential Search Advisory Committee comprising a broadly representative group of university stakeholders. The committee, with the assistance of an executive search firm, is expected to interview candidates during the fall of 2010 and make recommendations to the chancellor and Board of Regents prior to the Board's regular meeting in February 2011.