The UT System Board of Regents unanimously elected James Huffines as its new chairman during a June 2 meeting, less than one month after Charles Miller’s resignation May 12.
“I would like to extend my most sincere appreciation for this expression of trust and confidence in electing me your chairman,” Huffines said, who was nominated by Regent Scott Caven.
Huffines will serve as chairman, effective immediately, while Miller will continue to serve as a regent until a new regent is selected by Gov. Rick Perry.
“Regent Huffines is a strong, bright, talented administrator, who is knowledgeable about higher education and UT Dallas,” said President Franklyn Jenifer.
Huffines – who is also a member of the UTD presidential search committee – has been a regent since February 2003.
Huffines received a bachelor of business administration degree in finance from UT Austin in 1973 and is the chairman for PlainsCapital Bank’s for central and south Texas regions.
Huffines is the regental representative on the Board of Directors of The University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO), which oversees the UT System’s $14 billion in assets.
He has also served on the Executive Committee of the Board, was the Chairman of the Facilities Planning and Construction Committee and served on the Academic Affairs, Finance and Planning and the Health Affairs committees.
“My style is to work as a team,” Huffines said. “The UT System is by far the largest and most important asset to the state, and we have to protect that.”
But Huffines did not forget to commend Miller’s efforts while chairman.
“Rarely has the UT System had such a strong and dedicated leader as Charles Miller,” Huffines said. “Few chairmen have maintained his level of energy and commitment to improving the UT System. His knowledge and love of higher education have helped elevate UT to the national stage on many issues.”
Miller said his reason for resigning before the end of his six-year term – which would have ended February 2005 – was out of respect for the efficiency of the regents’ goals.
“Had I stayed on to the end of my term, we would have had a leadership change in the midst of the (legislative) session. The Board and the System need a strong voice and continuity through the 2005 session,” Miller said, according to a May 12 UT System press release.
Prior to Huffines’ appointment, Jenifer said that he hoped the new chair would acknowledge UTD’s strive for top-tier status.
“I hope for someone who is knowledgeable about UT Dallas and its historical expedition to Tier-1 status and knows what’s needed to achieve that,” Jenifer said.