From left to right, Chancellor Kent Hance and his wife Susie; new President Duane Nellis and his wife Ruthie; and Board of Regents Vice Chairman Larry Anders and his wife Nessa. (Click to enlarge)
Duane Nellis was introduced today (March 25) as the 16th president of Texas Tech University by Chancellor Kent Hance.
“This is a great time to be associated with Texas Tech University,” Nellis said. “This is an institution that is on the move in a very positive way. My wife Ruthie and I feel it is a great opportunity to be at this emerging national research university.”
Nellis comes to Texas Tech from the University of Idaho, where he has served as president since July 2009. There, he secured record student enrollments, enhanced the university’s research profile and spearheaded the university’s largest fundraising campaign.
Hance and Board of Regents Vice-Chairman Larry Anders recognized Texas Tech Interim President Lawrence Schovanec and the search committee. Anders said the quality of candidates in the search for the new president was extraordinary.
“Our search committee yielded an extraordinary amount of talent,” Anders said. “I’ve been involved in three searches in my time on the Board of Regents here at Texas Tech and it’s probably the best search overall that I’ve had the privilege of participating in. The quality of candidates that came through that pool was absolutely incredible.”
Nellis and his wife Ruthie have worked in higher education for more than 25 years. Among his plans for Texas Tech include continuing to increase enrollment figures by recruiting and retaining quality students, creating opportunities for synergy within the university and with the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, and maintaining Texas Tech’s reputation as a student-centered institution.
“There is a great tradition here at Tech of being very student-centered and we’re going to continue to build on that,” Nellis said. “It’s a great part of what it means to be here at Texas Tech: a great campus, we have great faculty, great staff, great infrastructure to support our faculty, staff and students, and a great product with that degree from Texas Tech University.”
Vision for the University
Nellis also said he wants to cultivate athletics and work with the Big 12 conference to foster student-athlete success.
“Athletics, in many ways, is the front-porch of the institution,” Nellis said. “I want to have competitive athletic programs. We have a great athletic director in Kirby Hocutt, and we want to be very supportive of our athletic programs as well.”
Nellis supports the Texas Tech strategic initiatives and said that he will work to grow Texas Tech’s reputation as a premier national research university. He said that with the investments Texas Tech has made within the last several years, it is primed to become one of the foremost research universities in Texas.
“We certainly need to continue to look creatively, to be more entrepreneurial, to maximize our resources as we move the institution forward,” Nellis said. “Twenty-first-century universities like Texas Tech are moving in a new direction. Texas Tech needs to be on the cutting edge of that—to be more engaged as an institution, to be more entrepreneurial, to be more globally connected, to be more interdisciplinary, as well as more diverse. I think we have the ingredients here to help move that forward in a very very positive way.”
Nellis and his wife Ruthie also were introduced to the Texas Tech community during a reception at the Frazier Alumni Pavilion.