Regents elect McRaven as next chancellor


Photo Credit: AP Photo/ The University of Texas at Austin, Marsha Miller

Naval Adm. William McRaven officially became the UT System’s next chancellor Thursday.

After naming McRaven sole finalist to succeed outgoing Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa in late July, the Board of Regents officially elected McRaven to the position at its meeting Thursday. In accordance with state law, the regents must name any finalist 21 days before selecting a chancellor.

McRaven, who graduated from the University with a journalism degree in 1977, is known for overseeing the operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. Addressing the regents with a short speech, McRaven highlighted some tenets set out by Cigarroa in his 2011 "Framework for Advancing Excellence."

"When people around Texas, around the nation and around the world think of the UT System — 'greatness' should be the first word that comes to mind," McRaven said. "This university system should be known for producing tomorrow’s leaders in every field of endeavor."

McRaven also cited demographics, technology and funding as major areas of change he noticed from his time in the military.

"We must not only keep up with the pace of change," McRaven said. "We must lead the change."

Set to begin his tenure as chancellor on Jan. 5, 2015, McRaven will receive an annual salary of $1.2 million — which is $337,500 more than Cigarroa currently receives. McRaven will also receive $400,000 annually in deferred compensation and a one-time payment of $300,000 to cover moving expenses.

Reporting to the regents, McRaven will oversee the System and be in charge of its operations.

Cigarroa, who announced his resignation in February to return to practicing medicine at UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, will continue to hold the position until December.

The selection of the next chancellor comes more than a week after Regent Wallace Hall was censured by a state house committee on Aug. 11. Hall, who the committee had been investigating for more than a year, has been accused by state legislators of overstepping his authority by his filing of large records requests to the University, violating federal student privacy laws and working to remove President William Powers Jr. Hall is also being investigated by the Travis County District Attorney's Public Integrity Unit.

In early July, Cigarroa received negative backlash from students, faculty members and alumni after news broke of his request for Powers to resign by October. Cigarroa cited communication and trust issues with Powers as his reasons for the request. Cigarroa and Powers later agreed to set Powers' resignation for June 2015.

McRaven will join the System in December as "chancellor-designate" to begin transitioning to his new role. He will retire his current position as U.S. special operations commander on Aug. 28.

This story has been updated since its original publication.