After seven months of searching, Texas Tech welcomes its 16th president.
Dr. Duane Nellis comes to Texas Tech highly recommended for what he's accomplished at two Big 12 schools, West Virginia and Kansas State, and as president of the University of Idaho. The choice was unanimous among the Search and Advisory committees, and the Board of Regents. Larry Anders, vice chairman of the board, said they were looking for someone who fit in with the Texas Tech culture.
"The way he seemed to interact, and how comfortable everyone felt with him as an individual, and his overall talents," Anders said. "He's a career academician, he's had a lot of experience in his career being a dean, being a provost and sitting as a president of a land grant university, I think were really important parts of the decision process that ultimately led to the board making the decision to hire him."
Chancellor Kent Hance said Nellis' passion for the students made him the obvious choice.
"I think if you look at his background, and what a good job he's done everywhere, he puts the student first," Hance said. "He puts getting an education first. That's the paramount thing in his thought process every day. His wife, Ruthie, has been a great soldier in their crusade for better education. So, I think they'll make an excellent team, and I'm very proud of them."
"I think the fact that he mentioned he wanted a student-centered university, I think that fits right in with the culture here in West Texas and at Texas Tech," Congressman Randy Neugebauer (R-Lubbock), said.
"I honestly think he's going to bring a lot to the university," Alex Alston, president of the Student Government Association, said. "It kind of excites me that he's so student-centered and student-focused. I think it's going to be exceptional that his wife is going to get involved with the day-to-day operations and stuff like that. I think Texas Tech picked the right person for the job, and I think it shows with the type of character and type of person he is."
Hance said Nellis will advance Tech's goals of reaching 40,000 students by 2020, raising academic standards, and increasing research funding. Nellis graduated with a Bachelors in Earth Science and Geography from Montana State, then got his Masters and PHD in Geography at Oregon State.