Denton, Texas – The University of North Texas System Board of Regents today approved a recommendation from Chancellor Lee Jackson naming V. Lane Rawlins as the sole finalist for the presidency of the University of North Texas – the system's flagship campus in Denton.
Rawlins, the former president of Washington State University and the University of Memphis, has been serving a one-year appointment as UNT's president (since May 14, 2010), following Phil C. Diebel's brief service as UNT's interim president.
Today's board action begins the minimum 21-day period required by Texas law before the System regents can vote to officially appoint Rawlins to the UNT presidency. If confirmed by the board next month, Rawlins will become UNT's 15th president.
During the event, Chancellor Jackson said:
"The most important responsibility that the Board of Regents and I have is to assure that UNT has the strongest, most effective leadership possible. We believe Lane Rawlins is a good fit for UNT.
"The next few years will be critical to UNT's growth, as the university moves to achieve its important and ambitious goals. Dr. Rawlins is a proven and effective leader, who is providing clear focus in meeting those goals."
President Rawlins said:
"Higher education is my life work. This is a rare and special opportunity to continue to do work that is very important and that I love. UNT is a great university, which is what attracted my wife, Mary Jo, and I to come here. That and the special character of this campus is why we've chosen to stay.
"UNT is poised to make steady and deliberate progress toward its goals. We will continue to be student-focused and to honor UNT's rich values and traditions."
Background – V. Lane Rawlins
Since joining UNT in May 2010, Dr. Rawlins has taken steps to streamline UNT administratively, and has made significant progress in helping UNT develop a clearer focus on its future. 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.