President M. Duane Nellis announced Friday in an email to faculty and students that he has been selected as the sole finalist for the presidency at Texas Tech University.
Texas state law requires that a notification must be made at least 21 days prior to the date final action is made to employ Nellis.
“Texas Tech University has never been in a better position and calls for an esteemed president to further the university’s extraordinary growth and recent achievements,” said Kent Hance, chancellor of the TTU System. “Duane Nellis is a visionary leader with an outstanding record of accomplishment in higher education. I am confident Dr. Nellis will advance Texas Tech University and look forward to working with him.”
Nellis said he did not expect to be presented with the opportunity to fill the presidency position at TTU.
“During this transition time and the months ahead, I certainly remain committed to my job here at Idaho and doing everything I can to continue to move this institution forward,” he said.
Hannah Davis, ASUI president, said she received a voicemail from Nellis before he released the official announcement.
“He said ‘It’s really hard for Ruthie and me to do this, but it’ll bring us closer to our family,’ which I totally understand,” Davis said. “I congratulated him, but it’s sad.”
She said she didn’t realize how much of a mentor Nellis was to her until now and said she knows UI will find an amazing replacement.
“I hope we get someone who will follow in his footsteps, someone who will advocate for students,” she said.
Kenton Bird, Faculty Senate chair, said he is disappointed Nellis is leaving and was surprised by the announcement.
“In hindsight, I’m not surprised that he chose to put his name forward,” Bird said. “I can see how frustrating it must be operating in this fiscal environment with unstable funding and a legislature that has not been wiling to fully invest in higher education.”
Bird said Nellis has accomplished a lot in his three and a half years at UI.
“He has laid the foundation for the next seven years,” he said. “Through the Vision 2020 planning process — the goal of increasing enrollment to 16,000 and the increased funding to research $150 million a year by 2020.”
He said he is deeply appreciative of Nellis’ leadership and optimistic about the future of UI.
“Personally I feel I’ve developed a good relationship with him the past year and a half,” Bird said. “I’m sorry to lose that ability to engage with him on issues affecting the university.”
Davis suggested Doug Baker, UI provost and executive vice president, would be a good choice as interim president.
Baker was a finalist for the presidency at the University of Wyoming until another finalist was announced Tuesday for the position.
Nellis will replace Lawrence Schovanec, who served as interim president at TTU after Guy Bailey resigned from the position in August 2012.
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