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State Rep. John Zerwas to join UT System as executive vice chancellor

The lawmaker, a doctor by training, will oversee a network of six health institutions with four medical schools, two dental schools and three nursing schools.

State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond (left), speaks with Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster (right), in the House Chamber on March…

The chair of the powerful House budget-writing Appropriations Committee, state Rep. John Zerwas, will be the new executive vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Texas System.

Zerwas, a doctor by training, announced Wednesday that he would retire from the Legislature effective Sept. 30, after representing Richmond as a Republican for more than a decade. He was first named the lower chamber's chief budget writer in 2017, and he previously chaired the House Higher Education Committee and served on the Public Health Committee.

At the UT System, Zerwas will oversee a network of six health institutions that includes four medical schools, two dental schools and three nursing schools.

In a news release Thursday, Zerwas said he was "deeply honored to accept this position and all of the responsibilities to serve UT institutions and the people of Texas that come with it."

UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken said, “Dr. Zerwas understands our health enterprise and the needs of Texas, and he will bring his experience from many perspectives to benefit our health institutions and our state."

The chair of the system's governing board, former state Sen. Kevin Eltife, also lauded Zerwas' background.

"He comes to the UT System with a very high regard among colleagues in the medical, business and legislative arenas,” Eltife said in a release. “ I know Dr. Zerwas will bring new insights that will benefit us all, and we’re grateful he is willing to make this important public service transition. I could not be more pleased that we were able to recruit him to the UT System."

Zerwas' appointment at the UT System is effective Oct. 1. He will succeed Ray Greenberg, who served as the UT System's top health executive for five years before stepping down in March.

Disclosure: The University of Texas System has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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