Changing of the guard for Texas Tech and Lamar University

ApprovedJames M. Simmons, President of Lamar University, has announced his retirement. Simmons will finish off the 2012 calendar year and is expected to serve his final day January 31, 2013. Many at the university credit Simmons as a major part of the schools success. During his 14 years as University President, enrollment in the school has more than doubled. The school faced and overcame numerous challenges including two natural disasters, Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Rita. Out of the schools 89 year history, “Jimmy” Simmons served faithfully for more than 40 of those years. The former marching band instructor says he plans to spend his time fishing, golfing and playing music. No successor or interim president has been named yet.

Texas Tech has named their committee to find a new president. The 10 person group will be chaired by Board of Regents chairman, Jerry Turner. “We are determined to assist the chancellor in finding the most qualified candidate for this position,” Turner said in a statement. “Our university is expanding, and its greatest days lie ahead. We aim to identify candidates who are qualified and ready to guide Texas Tech toward its goal of greater national recognition as a teaching and research institution.”

In the meantime, Lawrence Schovanec will be serving as the interim president. Schovanec is currently the Texas Tech Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences but knows the Texas Tech system very well. “It’s a tremendous honor and privilege to serve Texas Tech as interim president,” Schovanec said. “I’ve been here a long time. I have enormous pride in this university. I come into this position at a very good time. We now share in the National Research University Fund. That achievement speaks to the quality and the productivity of our faculty and the success of our students. We have a very good strategic plan, and we have a business model that lays out a vision for Tech attaining tier-one status.” Schovanec has said he is not a candidate and is not involved in the committee to find the next president. When his service as interim president is done he plans to return as the dean of Arts and Sciences.