UPDATED: Texas Tech Chancellor Robert Duncan announces retirement
Texas Tech regents will soon begin the search for the System’s next chancellor. Robert Duncan announced his retirement in a letter Monday.
Duncan, 65, has served as chancellor since July 2014. His retirement is effective Aug. 31. This announcement comes days after the most recent Board of Regents meeting, held Thursday and Friday in Lubbock.
Unconfirmed reports suggest Dr. Tedd Mitchell will take over as interim chancellor until the final candidate is approved. He currently serves as the president of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in Lubbock.
“The relationships Terri and I have built with board members, system and university leadership, donors, students, faculty and staff during this time means so much to us. We look forward to maintaining these friendships and watching the system continue to flourish in the years ahead,” Duncan wrote in the letter.
There isn’t yet a time line for when an interim chancellor will be appointed or when the search for Duncan’s successor will begin.
The chancellor, who reports to the Board of Regents, is chief executive of the Tech System, with an annual budget of more than $2 billion, about 53,000 students and 20,000 employees. Presidents of Texas Tech University, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, Angelo State and Texas Tech Health Sciences Center El Paso report to the chancellor.
According to Duncan’s bio, since his appointment the System has raised more than “$581 million in philanthropic funds, more than any previous chancellor has raised in the same time period, and is on track for a record fundraising year in 2018. Duncan emphasizes philanthropic giving as the funding that enables system universities to achieve excellence. In line with his belief in the power of philanthropy, Chancellor Duncan has set forth the goal of a $2 billion TTU System endowment (currently valued at $1.26 billion) which would establish resources for success for decades to come.”
Duncan is the fourth chancellor of the Texas Tech University System, which was created in 1996 and formally established by the state in 1999.
Duncan is among three Tech chancellors elected to public office. John Montford represented Lubbock and the South Plains in the Texas Senate from 1983 to 1996. Upon Montford’s departure from the Senate to become Tech’s first chancellor in August 1996, then-Lubbock State Representative Duncan won a special election to replace Montford. Duncan served in the State Senate until July 2014..
Tech’s second chancellor, Dr. David Smith, was previously president of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. Dr. Smith earlier served as chairman of the Texas Correctional Managed Health Care Committee and commissioner of the Texas Department of Health. Dr. Smith was named interim chancellor in September 2001, appointed chancellor May 2002.
Tech’s longest-serving chancellor, Kent Hance, was appointed in December 2006. Under his leadership the System added Angelo State and Texas Tech HSC El Paso. Like Montford and Duncan, Hance was Lubbock State Senator, from 1975 to 1979. Hance was then elected U.S. Representative for Texas’ 19th District, serving from 1979 to 1985. Current West Texas Congressman Jodey Arrington served as Chief of Staff to Chancellor Hance and, later, as Tech Vice Chancellor for Research and Commercialization. Hance currently serves as chancellor emeritus.
Duncan received a bachelor’s degree in ag economics from Tech in 1976, and a doctorate of jurisprudence from the Tech Law School in 1981.
Letter from Duncan
Below is text of Duncan's letter:
August 13, 2018
TTU System Family:
Over four years ago, when becoming Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System I declared that we were a university system of the first class. Since that time, we have continued to uphold that standard, made significant progress in elevating the maturity of our System and have achieved even greater levels of success in the advancement of a broader vision.
As we approach the start of a new school year, I look back with pride on the tremendous strides we have made in recent years. But I have also reflected on my life, my decades of public service, and realize that, at 65, it’s time to retire, move on and begin to tackle new challenges. In doing so, I’m 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. I am committed to a smooth transition to ensure that our progress continues unabated.
Serving the System as Chancellor has been the honor of a lifetime and the highlight of my professional career. This position, and working alongside each of you, is an experience for which I am forever grateful. The growth and progress of the System and our four institutions over the past four years are undeniable and will make a difference in our communities, state and nation for years to come. We have so much to be proud of.
Together, we have raised more than $585 million in philanthropic support, building a culture of sustained philanthropy. Our endowment has grown $150 million to a total value of $1.3 billion. Degrees awarded, student enrollment and research expenditures have reached record levels. We also have built significant momentum and support for new major initiatives to benefit our universities and the State of Texas.
Most importantly, the relationships Terri and I have built with Board members, system and university leadership, donors, students, faculty and staff during this time mean so much to us. We look forward to maintaining these friendships and watching the System continue to flourish in the years ahead.
I came to Texas Tech University as a young man from Vernon, Texas. Like many, I needed inspiration and confidence to realize what was possible for my future. 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. From here, it is indeed possible.
Terri and I cannot thank you enough for the support and friendship over these last four years. We are forever grateful.
Yours very truly,