UT System Regents officially select first president of UT Rio Grande Valley

AUSTIN – The University Of Texas System Board Of Regents on Tuesday formally named Guy Bailey the first president of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Regents named Bailey, the former president of Texas Tech University, the sole finalist on April 28 but under state law had to wait 21 days before making the appointment. His first day on the job will be June 15.

Bailey said he views the post “as the single most exciting educational opportunity in America today… I look forward to working with everyone as we launch the nation’s first major public university of the 21st century.”

UT Rio Grande Valley, which welcomes the inaugural class of students in fall 2015, is being created by combining the talent, assets and resources of UT Brownsville, UT Pan American and the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC). A medical school will open 2016.

Bailey visited both UT Brownsville and UT Pan American last week so that students, faculty, staff and community leaders could ask questions and learn more about the potential president in series of open forums.

“We are extremely grateful to have found such a charismatic, inspiring leader as Guy Bailey for this historic position,” Regents Chairman Paul Foster said. “He truly understands that this opportunity is the job of a lifetime and he is already committed to the people of South Texas and laying the foundation for a future research university with an international reputation.”

Including his tenure at Texas Tech, Bailey has extensive experience at the helm of large research institutions and has also served as chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), president the University of Alabama and provost of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

While at UMKC, which is home to schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and law, Bailey developed a plan to make the institution a model research university. He also developed an innovative construction plan that allowed the institution to build numerous new facilities with minimal state resources.

UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., noted that the first president stands to have a monumental impact regionally, nationally and even internationally for generations to come, and described Bailey as “a proven, progressive leader to be a part of this transformational mission in South Texas.”

Per the goals and guiding principles set by the regents, UTRGV’s long-term goal will be to become a global leader in higher education, producing graduates who are bicultural, bi-lingual and bi-literate. When it opens, UTRGV is expected to become the second-largest Hispanic-serving institution in the nation.

 “UTRGV is the fulfillment of a new model whose goal it is to transform the quality of life, health and economic prosperity in South Texas and beyond,” Foster said. “UTRGV will uphold a mission of global excellence that will transform South Texas into an epicenter for research, world-class education and healthcare.”

Bailey, a sociolinguist, has also held positions at Emory University, Texas A&M University and Oklahoma State University and served as dean of liberal arts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

He received  bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from the University of Alabama and a doctorate in English linguistics from the University of Tennessee and is the author of more than 100 books and articles.

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2013 enrollment of more than 213,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $14.6 billion (FY 2014) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 90,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.