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Rita Crocker Clements
Date of Passing
MRS. WILLIAM P. CLEMENTS, JR. of Dallas was appointed to the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System by Governor George W. Bush in November 1996, to complete the term of Ms. Linnet F. Deily, who resigned to pursue business interests outside Texas. The term expired in February 2001 and Mrs. Clements was reappointed to the Board by Governor Rick Perry in April 2001 for a term to expire in February 2007.
Regent Clements is a Vice Chairman of the Board and chairs the Health Affairs Committee. She also serves on the Audit, Compliance, and Management Review Committee; the Facilities Planning and Construction Committee; the Student, Faculty, and Staff Campus Life Committee. Vice Chairman Clements has also served as Chairman of the Facilities Planning and Construction Committee and as a Regental representative on the Board of Directors of The University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO).
Mrs. Clements has served as a director of Team Bank and Bank One, Texas, as well as La Quinta Motor Inns and the Dr Pepper Company. From 1972 to 1975, she was a member of the National Advisory Council for Economic Opportunity, and in 1991 she served on the President's Task Force on U.S. Government International Broadcasting.
Vice Chairman Clements, a former First Lady of Texas, graduated cum laude from The University of Texas at Austin in 1953, with a major in Spanish and minors in history and government. In 1991, she was named a Distinguished Alumna of the University. She has served on a variety of governmental commissions and on the boards of many philanthropic and public service organizations, and she has been active in political committees and campaigns at the local, state, and national levels.
Her husband, William P. Clements, Jr., served two terms as Governor of Texas - from 1979 to 1983 and from 1987 to 1991. Mrs. Clements was born in Newton, Kansas, and grew up on ranches in Kansas and in the Hill Country of Texas. She is a graduate of the Hockaday School in Dallas and attended Wellesley College in Boston before completing her undergraduate degree at U. T. Austin.
She has been a member of the U. T. Austin Development Board and served on the Executive Council of the University's Ex-Students' Association. She also serves as a life board member of the Hockaday School and served as chairman of the board of the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series at Southern Methodist University. She is currently serving as Chairman of the Salvation Army Dallas Metroplex Advisory Board.
Her other current board memberships include the Center for Human Nutrition, Charter 100, the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Crystal Charity Ball, the Dallas Historical Society, the Friends of the Governor's Mansion Foundation, the O'Donnell Foundation, and the Robert and Nancy Dedman Foundation.
She has been active in Republican Party politics since the 1950s, serving as a precinct chairman from 1958 to 1961 and county canvass chairman from 1960 to 1963. She also has been a member of the board of the National Federation of Republican Women, a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1968 and 1992, a member of the Republican National Finance Committee from 1971 to 1972, and a member of the Republican National Committee from 1973 to 1975. She has been active in numerous state and national political campaigns.
Mrs. Clements has been recognized for her commitment to historic preservation, particularly her work in restoring the Texas Governor's Mansion. For that activity, she received the Miss Ima Hogg Special Award from the Winedale Society and the Ruth B. Lester Award from the Texas Historical Commission. She was inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame.
Daily Texan, March 26, 2001
By Ryan D. Pittman
Daily Texan Staff
Aiming to diversify a UT Board of Regents dominated by white males, Gov. Rick Perry appointed three women to the panel Friday, including its first ever African-American woman. For the next six years, former Texas First Lady Rita Clements, Bexar County Judge Cyndi Krier and former Houston City Health Director Judith Craven will join the other six regents to oversee the 15 UT System institutions.
Perry reappointed Clements, 69, who has served on the board since 1996. She had been the only female regent on the nine-member panel. Krier, 50, is a former state senator from San Antonio and has served as president of the UT Ex-Students' Association. Craven, 55, will be the first black woman and only the second black regent to serve on the board. "When I was the only woman, I sometimes laughingly said, 'Here I am one woman representing 53 percent of our student body,'" Clements said. "Now, we have three women representing our student body, and I couldn't be more proud."
With Perry's appointments, the Board of Regents now includes three women, two Hispanics and one African-American. All nine regents were appointed by either Perry or former Gov. George W. Bush. Perry had hoped to improve the geographic diversity of the board, but several key regions in Texas remain unrepresented. Four regents now hail from Houston, while none are from Austin or the Rio Grande Valley, where populations have boomed over the last 10 years and where two system schools are located. UT System Chancellor Dan Burck said the board will face many unique challenges in the coming years, including serving a state where changing demographics have significantly altered the makeup of the UT System and of Texas. The board will also tackle such controversial issues as the development of a system-wide standardized testing plan for students and the adoption of new policies on who can set student tuition rates, currently being decided by the Texas Legislature.
Burck said he knows Clements and Krier "quite well" but has not met Craven. "I'm very pleased by these appointments," Burck said. "I applaud the governor for increasing the board's diversity, and I'm sure that with the incoming regents' backgrounds, UT will continue its path of improvement." Regents serve six-year terms and must gain confirmation from the Senate before taking their place on the board, generally a routine matter. Clements, wife of former Gov. Bill Clements Jr., has been on the board the longest and is a likely candidate to serve as the board's chairwoman. A Dallas resident, she chaired the board's committee on facilities and planning, which oversaw the controversial selection of an architecture firm to design the new Jack Blanton Museum of Art on campus. She said she hopes to focus her attention on securing more funding for medical research and development for the System's six medical institutions. She also wants to continue work on student retention rates and academic quality. "The future of Texas depends on our students now at UT schools," Clements said. "It's all about quality, quality, quality for us on the board."
Krier, the first Republican and first woman ever elected as Bexar County Judge, will take the board position formerly held by fellow San Antonian Tom Loeffler, whose term expired Feb. 1. Krier, who was unavailable for comment, has said she would be willing to forgo the final year of her term as county judge to serve on the board.
Craven, who previously served as a dean at the UT Health Science Center in Houston, will replace former board chairman Don Evans, who resigned in January to serve as U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Craven also serves on the boards of directors of Compaq, Luby's, Variable Annuity Life Insurance Co., Sysco, the Belo Corp. and the Bowling Green State University Foundation. She previously served six years as president of the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast. Craven was unavailable for comment.