McCombs, LBJ deans to step down

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From left, Tom Gilligan, dean of the McCombs School of Business, and Robert Hutchings, dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs, will step down at the end of the semester, according to a blog post  by UT President William Powers Jr.

Two UT deans will step down at the end of the semester, according to a blog post released Friday by UT President William Powers Jr.

Robert Hutchings, dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs, and Tom Gilligan, dean of the McCombs School of Business, will be stepping down from their positions, Powers said in the post. The two will join Roderick Hart, dean of the Moody College of Communication, Kevin Hegarty, UT’s vice president and chief financial officer, and Powers in leaving the University at the end of this term.

It is likely the new deans will be named by the next UT president, according to University spokesman Gary Susswein. The next president will be announced in March, according to a UT System timeline.

“Broadly speaking, I think anytime there’s a leadership change in an organization, you see turnover like this,” Susswein said. “Whether it’s Dean Gilligan, or Dean Hutchings, or Vice President Kevin Hegarty who is leaving, you know these are people who have been at UT Austin for a long time and have contributed a lot.”

Gilligan, who could not be reached for comment on his decision to step down, helped shape McCombs into the high-ranking business school it is today, Susswein said. 

“McCombs is one of the best business schools in the country and, especially among public universities, is one of the top, and a lot of that is because of what Dean Gilligan has brought there in terms of developing new programs, in terms of making sure that we have the top faculty and the top students and even in terms of facilities,” Susswein said.

In an email sent to faculty and staff, Powers said Gilligan has helped students prepare for the world outside of academia.

“He has attracted top faculty and students and fostered research that is central to UT’s intellectual climate,” Powers said in the email. “He has also built and expanded multiple programs that support industry while challenging students and preparing them to be leaders.”

Hutchings, who has been dean of the LBJ school since 2010, said that when he took the position as dean, he only planned to stay one semester. 

“We’ve done a lot during my tenure. I feel like I’ve achieved just about all the things we set out to achieve when I first arrived, and it’s been a pretty long agenda of issues and items, so I feel good about that,” Hutchings said.

Hutchings said he will be a visiting professor at Princeton University in the fall and a distinguished fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. in the spring to work on a new book. Following his work at Princeton and in Washington D.C., he said he will return to UT as a faculty member in the LBJ School.

“It’s fairly traditional when a dean steps down, if he’s going to return to the faculty, the old dean leaves town to give a new dean a chance to sort of make his or her own imprint on the place,” Hutchings said.