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UT System Board of Regents names Rod Mabry President Emeritus of UT Tyler

The UT System Board of Regents unanimously voted to name Rodney H. Mabry, Ph.D., President Emeritus of UT Tyler in recognition of his leadership and vision that elevated the university through growth in enrollment, academic programs, and facilities.

Rodney Mabry outside on the commons of UT Tyler with the text "Rodney H. Mabry" appearing at the bottom of the screen

Dr. Mabry served as president of UT Tyler for 18 years, from 1998 to 2016.

“Dr. Mabry led UT Tyler through an evolution from a primarily commuter college to a comprehensive university that plays a significant role in the education and economic growth of the East Texas region,” said Kevin P. Eltife, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents. “From degree offerings to campus facilities to research, Dr. Mabry led UT Tyler in so many meaningful ways. But his most important accomplishment was expanding access to UT Tyler for students in East Texas and beyond.”

When Mabry became UT Tyler’s president in 1998, there were approximately 3,000 students enrolled. By the time he retired from the presidency, the university's enrollment had nearly tripled. In addition, academic opportunities, including new degree and doctoral programs, had been added; new facilities had been built to engage and educate students on campus and at two new satellite campuses; and UT Tyler's reputation as a regional leader and economic driver had been secured.

Mabry’s accomplishments included creating a scholarship program to help community and junior college students transfer to UT Tyler; establishing a new College of Engineering; implementing intercollegiate athletics that expanded to 15 NCAA teams; building new campuses in Longview and Palestine; establishing an engineering center in Houston; and overseeing major construction projects to attract and serve students, including academic buildings, recreation and athletic facilities, new residence halls, and a musical arts building. During his tenure, research initiatives grew to more than $12 million and permanent university endowments reached a market value of more than $33 million.

“President Mabry has always understood the importance of UT Tyler to East Texas,” said UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken. “His commitment to developing opportunities for students to learn and work and live in the region contributed to a vibrant community.”

After retiring as president, Mabry continued to serve UT Tyler as director of the Hibbs Institute for Business and Economic Research in the College of Business and Technology, where he remains a member of the Advisory Council.

Mabry's contributions to higher education and the East Texas region also included serving as president and a member of the American Southwest Conference Council of Presidents; on the board of directors of the American Association of University Administrators; as a member of the Committee on Professional Development of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities; and as a member of the Tyler Economic Development Council, the Tyler Area Business Education Council and the Tyler-Smith County P-16 Council.

A native of Kentucky, Mabry held leadership positions at the University of Tulsa, Clemson University, and the University of Louisiana-Monroe before he and his wife, Merle, moved to Tyler in 1998. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

About The University of Texas System

For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 14 institutions, an enrollment of nearly 240,000 students and an operating budget of $21.7 billion (FY 2021), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 64,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its health professional degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 9.2 million outpatient visits and 1.8 million hospital days last year. UT institutions also are among the most innovative in the world, collectively ranking No. 3 for most U.S. patents granted in 2019, and the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation in federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.

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