After four years as head of the Texas Tech University System, former state lawmaker Robert Duncan announced Monday that he would retire as chancellor effective Aug. 31.
In an email sent to the West Texas institution's community, Duncan wrote that "as we approach the start of a new school year, I look back with pride on the tremendous strides we have made." But he said he had also "reflected" on his life and realized that "at 65, it's time to retire, move on and begin to tackle new challenges."
Serving as chancellor of the four-campus Texas Tech system — which includes two academic and two health institutions — was "the honor of a lifetime," Duncan wrote, and the highlight of his career.
His message noted that the system's endowment had grown to $1.3 billion during his tenure, and that degrees awarded, student enrollment, and research expenditures had all reached "record levels."
"I came to Texas Tech University as a young man from Vernon, Texas," he wrote. "This university and its people empowered me to believe I was capable of achieving a future beyond my wildest dreams. They started me on a journey that took me to law school, led me to serve our state and community in the Texas Legislature, and ultimately culminated with serving as Chancellor of the greatest university system in the nation."
Duncan said he was committed to ensuring a "smooth transition" and was "grateful for the support I have received from the Board of Regents, the System, our universities, and all those who love Texas Tech University as much as I do."
L. Frederick “Rick” Francis, the chairman of the system's board of regents, thanked Duncan for his leadership and said he had "helped all our universities reach new heights and pursue new, innovative initiatives."
"I’ve known him for many years and value his friendship. I wish him and Terri all the best in retirement," he said.
In a statement, the president of Lubbock-based Texas Tech University, Lawrence Schovanec, said: “I admire and appreciate Chancellor Duncan for his lifetime of service to Lubbock, West Texas and our state. I am personally and professionally indebted to him and will continue to value our close friendship. I wish him and Terri the very best in retirement.”
A spokesperson for the system said they did not yet have details about when an interim chancellor would be appointed and when the search process for Duncan's successor would begin.
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