Montford was the first chancellor of the Texas Tech University System.
John T. Montford, former member of the Texas Senate and the first chancellor of the Texas Tech University System (TTUS), will deliver the Texas Tech University commencement address at the December 2016 ceremonies.
Montford was named as the first chancellor when the TTUS was created in 1996 and served in that role five years. Under his leadership, the system embarked on its first capital campaign, a successful $300 million fundraising effort that ultimately yielded more than $500 million to support Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, the system's two component institutions at the time.
“This year we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Texas Tech University System, and that wouldn't be possible without the founding vision and leadership of our Board of Regents and John Montford,” Robert Duncan, TTUS chancellor, said. “John has been a champion for higher education and Texas Tech and is a true statesman for Texas and our region. I am honored to call him a mentor and friend, to have followed in his footsteps in the Senate and to build upon the legacy he started in 1996 at the Texas Tech University System.”
Montford has held a variety of leadership positions in industry, academia and government.
John Montford had a vision for the Texas Tech University System, and through his efforts in those early years, that vision quickly became reality,” said Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech University president. “His leadership and dedication to higher education, combined with his experience as a state senator, resonate throughout the system institutions today. It is a special honor for our graduates that he has graciously agreed to deliver this year's commencement address.”
As a member of the Texas Senate from 1983 to 1996, Montford served as chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and as president pro tem. In 1996 he was named as president, external affairs for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, followed by becoming senior vice president for SBC Communications. After the merger of SBC and AT&T, he became president, AT&T Services for of the Western Region of the United States. Following the restructuring of General Motors in 2010, he headed GM's Global Public Policy covering some 122 countries. He also served as a member of the GM Executive Committee and chaired the GM Foundation.
Montford has served on a number of boards for public and private companies, charitable and nonprofit organizations. He was a cofounder and former board chairman of the Dolph and Janey Briscoe Museum of Western Art in San Antonio. He is also a former board chairman of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Southwest Airlines, where he chairs the board's audit committee. Currently, he is president and chief executive officer of JTM Consulting, LLC, a governmental relations advisory firm.
Recently, Montford co-authored a book entitled “Board Games: Straight Talk for New Directors and Good Governance” published by Praeger, ABC-CLIO. In the book, listed as a “best-seller” in the corporate governance category by Amazon, Montford provides guidance for future business leaders who serve as corporate directors, warns of pitfalls and crises and draws from his many years of experience in business, academia and government.
Montford is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and served on active duty as a Judge Advocate. He is a graduate of the University of Texas and University of Texas School of Law. He also was the elected District Attorney of Lubbock County before being elected to the Texas Senate. His wife, Debbie, is a member of the TTUS Board of Regents. The Montfords have been married for 42 years and have three children and five grandchildren.