Nov. 9, 2010
Dear fellow UNT community members,
It is my honor to tell you that UNT System Chancellor Lee Jackson has extended an offer for me to continue as the UNT President. And, it is with sincere enthusiasm and commitment that I agree to be sole finalist in UNT's search for its next president.
I consider it a great privilege to have this opportunity to serve and to work with the great people at UNT.
As you may recall, I mentioned at convocation that my heart would probably be broken because I would fall in love and then have to leave. Well, I have developed a passion for this place and it looks like I won't be leaving any time soon.
I am deeply grateful for this opportunity and want to thank Chancellor Jackson for making the offer. I also want to thank members of the board and the many others who have encouraged me to consider staying.
UNT is my kind of place, one that truly values students and provides them with meaningful opportunities to grow. That comes through supporting faculty, who are leaders in their research, scholarship and performance. But we can be better and we have set higher goals. I believe that my experience and commitment are a good fit for UNT at this time.
Even though the most immediate months in Texas and our upcoming budget will be challenging, the future for UNT is extraordinarily bright. That is because of you and your dedication to excellence. I look forward to continuing to work with you.
If this process ends with my appointment for the long term, I promise you that I will do my best. I know I share that commitment with all of you who understand the importance of our work to this generation, this state, and to society.
V. Lane Rawlins
Denton, Texas – University of North Texas System Chancellor Lee Jackson today announced that he intends to nominate V. Lane Rawlins as the sole finalist for the presidency of the University of North Texas – the system’s flagship campus in Denton. The nomination, expected to take place at the regularly scheduled UNT System Board of Regents meeting later this week, concludes UNT’s national search for a new president.
Rawlins, the former president of Washington State University and the University of Memphis, has been serving a one-year appointment as UNT’s president.
UNT System Chancellor Lee F. Jackson praised the progress Rawlins has made to advance UNT along the pathway defined by the university's overall strategic and research plans.
"Dr. Rawlins is aligning the university’s strategic plans and putting the necessary steps and measures in place for UNT to fulfill its aspirations,” Jackson said. "Lane Rawlins has quickly developed an understanding of UNT's strengths and challenges, and he has impressed us all with his commitment to UNT."
“He cares deeply about UNT’s mission as a public university, and his warm, collaborative leadership style is proving to be invaluable for the university and its communities. During the last few months, people from both the university and community, including members of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, have encouraged us to explore the opportunity to extend Dr. Rawlins' service to UNT, and I'm pleased that he has agreed to stay with us to see his promising initiatives take shape over the next two years."
Rawlins’ substantial knowledge and executive experience are expected to help UNT continue make strategic progress, especially in the key areas of academics, research, arts, image and reputation, and athletics.
“UNT is at an exciting and pivotal point in its history, and I’m pleased to be playing a role in shaping UNT’s future,” said Rawlins. “I believe that my experience and commitment are a good fit for UNT at this time. This university is a place that truly values students and is committed to the challenge of becoming a national research university. We will meet our goals while preserving who we are and strengthening our traditional areas of excellence.”
Rawlins already has taken steps to streamline UNT administratively. To improve shared decision-making and university community participation, Rawlins formed four councils in the areas of capital projects, enrollment, finance, and image and public relations. The councils will make critical decisions in key areas that affect the future of the university and its growth. He also created a planning committee to combine the university’s overall and research strategic plans into a single consolidated strategic plan to serve as a roadmap for the university’s future.
UNT’s aspirations are similar to those of Washington State during Rawlins 2000-2007 presidency. Rawlins guided strategic planning that resulted in WSU’s substantial progress in education and research. Rawlins’ leadership helped WSU achieve growth in research recognition and funding; increased enrollment of academically talented students, while also enrolling a more diverse student body; and, support for local and regional economic growth through the university’s multiple campus locations. Rawlins’ administration advanced the critical connection between outstanding undergraduate education and world-class research, and strengthened WSU's image and reputation as one of the nation's leading public research universities.
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, 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.
Background: The search for a new long-term UNT president was launched in April 2010 with the creation of Presidential Search Advisory Committee, which was composed of a broadly representative group of internal and external university stakeholders. The committee’s original goal, with the assistance of an executive search firm, was to make recommendations to the chancellor and UNTS Board of Regents prior to the board's regular meeting in February 2011. While the search advisory committee had identified a pool of interested and highly qualified candidates, substantial internal and external support for Rawlins’ leadership and presidency moved Chancellor Jackson to recommend Rawlins during the board’s November meeting, rather than continue the search process. Rawlins’ nomination as sole finalist is informally endorsed by the committee.
If the System regents, on Friday, accept the nomination of Rawlins as UNT’s 15th president, a minimum of 21 days is required by Texas law before the System regents can vote to officially appoint Rawlins to the UNT presidency.