Editor's note: This post has been updated throughout.
It's official: Admiral William H. McRaven, the head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, is the next chancellor of the University of Texas System.
In prepared remarks delivered before the Board of Regents on Thursday, McRaven said he was "very excited about the opportunity to serve the University of Texas System."
In July, McRaven was named the sole finalist to replace current chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, who plans to return to the University of Texas Health Science Center — where he previously served as president — to head up a pediatric transplant surgery unit.
Cigarroa plans to serve through the end of the year, but McRaven will officially become a system employee in December, holding the non-salaried position of chancellor designate until the transition to his new post is complete.
Upon taking office, McRaven will instantly become one of the highest-paid public university system leaders in the country. According to system officials, McRaven's annual salary will be $1.2 million. Additionally, $400,000 in deferred compensation will be set aside each year. He will be eligible for up to $300,000 in bonuses each year and will receive a one-time payment of $300,000 to help with his move to Austin. At the end of 2018, if he serves out the length of his contract, he will receive a $300,000 bonus.
Last year, Cigarroa's compensation was $862,500, which included a base salary of $750,000.
In his public comments, McRaven credited his predecessor with espousing tenets that were "universal and timeless." He specifically cited Cigarroa's "Framework for Advancing Excellence," a plan for the system that was approved by the board in 2011, for encouraging a "continued trajectory toward greatness."
McRaven — in an apparent nod to previously politicized debates about the role of research in higher education — noted that "teaching and scholarly research go hand in hand, both demanding an unwavering pursuit of excellence."
McRaven also noted the rapid changes in demography, technology and funding in higher education, which he said he has witnessed in the military. “We must not only keep up with the pace of change," he said. "We must lead the change.”
Cigarroa announced in February that he intended to step down once his successor was named. McRaven said his decision to accept the job was a "direct result" of his interactions with the regents during their search process.
He will officially retire from the military on Aug. 28, and has declined to comment to the press while in his current post.
"He's not going to take questions from the press today," UT System Board Chairman Paul Foster said on Thursday, "but you'll get your chance."
Disclosure: Paul Foster is a major donor to The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Texas Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.