The Texas Tech University System has named one of its own top administrators, John Opperman, interim president of Texas Tech University.
Opperman is currently vice chancellor of academic affairs for the system, which oversees the flagship campus in Lubbock. He previously worked as an adviser to former Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Senate Finance Committee.
“I am honored to serve Texas Tech University as interim president and am excited by the opportunity to work with our incredibly talented faculty, students and staff,” Opperman said in a press release. “My top priority will be to maintain the momentum that has transformed Texas Tech into a great public research university.”
Opperman and Texas Tech System Chancellor Robert L. Duncan previously worked together as aides to then-state Sen. John Montford, himself a former Tech chancellor.
Opperman has worked for the Tech system since 2002. He replaces outgoing Tech President Duane Nellis, who announced his resignation lest week.
Nellis will return to a teaching job. He had previously been a candidate for the presidency at the University of Wyoming, but didn't get that position. During his interview at Wyoming, he publicly expressed frustration with the governance structure at Tech.
Opperman's appointment was made during a special meeting of the Texas Tech University System's Board of Regents. During the meeting, the regents also appointed a search committee to find a permanent president. The committee will be chaired by Regent Tim Lancaster.