Skip to main content

Regents Meeting on Next UT-Austin President

The University of Texas System Board of Regents will meet Wednesday to discuss who will replace Bill Powers as president of UT-Austin, but sources cautioned the board might not reach an immediate decision on a lone finalist.

UT System Board of Regents Chairman Paul Foster during a meeting on Dec. 12, 2013.

With the search narrowed down to three candidates, the University of Texas System Board of Regents will meet Wednesday to discuss a replacement for Bill Powers as president of the University of Texas at Austin. 

Sources close to the process confirmed that the three candidates on the short list are Andrew Hamilton, vice chancellor of the University of Oxford in England; UT-Austin Provost Gregory Fenves; and David Daniel, president of the University of Texas at Dallas.

The regents are scheduled to meet behind closed doors from about 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., according to the board’s agenda. Sources cautioned that the board might not reach a decision on a lone finalist Wednesday.

Hamilton is the former provost of Yale University. He was previously a chemistry professor at Yale, and before that a faculty member at Princeton University. While at Yale, he re-established the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science following a 40-year hiatus. Hamilton became vice chancellor of the University of Oxford in 2009. 

Fenves was UT-Austin's dean of engineering, a position he took in 2008before becoming executive vice president and provost in 2013. As dean, Fenves helped raise millions of dollars for the university. Fundraising is often a key factor in university president searches. Fenves also served as chairman of the department of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

Daniel is just the fourth president of UT-Dallas, a position he has held since 2005. He was a faculty member at UT-Austin from 1980 to 1996. He then headed of the department of civil engineering at the University of Illinois, and later became the dean of engineering at that university. 

Joseph Steinmetz, executive vice president and provost at Ohio State University, was also a candidate but withdrew shortly after the short list was first leaked to several news outlets, including the Austin American-Statesman

Powers, the current UT-Austin president, announced last year he will step down in June. According to media reports ahead of Powers' announcement last year, the then-outgoing UT System chancellor was demanding that Powers resign earlier or be fired. Powers held out and got the timeline he wanted. 

The UT System regents have been mired in conflict with UT-Austin's administrators and some lawmakers — mostly over actions by Regent Wallace Hall. Hall has been accused by some lawmakers of conducting a "witch hunt" to oust Powers. Hall, a UT-Austin graduate, has said he was performing his duty as a regent.

Many expect the controversy to wind down since Adm. William McRaven took over the chancellor's post earlier this year.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

The Texas Tribune Member Drive Fall 2020 banner

This public-service journalism is made possible by readers like you.

Donate now