Nov. 10: UNT's interim president, V. Lane Rawlins, is tapped for permanent post

Posted Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012

By Diane Smith

DENTON -- V. Lane Rawlins, named interim president of the University of North Texas earlier this year, will be nominated as the sole finalist for the job this week during a board of regents meeting -- a move that will end a nationwide search to succeed Gretchen Bataille.

His nomination was announced Tuesday by UNT Chancellor Lee Jackson, who will make the formal recommendation to regents Friday. State law requires a minimum of 21 days before the regents can vote to officially appoint Rawlins.

"Dr. Rawlins is aligning the university's strategic plans and putting the necessary steps and measures in place for UNT to fulfill its aspirations," Jackson said in a statement. "Lane Rawlins has quickly developed an understanding of UNT's strengths and challenges, and he has impressed us all with his commitment to UNT."

Attaining Tier One status for the 36,000-student campus is a top goal for Rawlins. A number of Texas schools are seeking the designation, given to universities conducting top research.

Rawlins has tried to build UNT's science and engineering programs, and this week he will propose to regents the creation of four doctoral programs in engineering. He said his talents can help take the university to a new level.

"I build teams and make plans and get people working together," he said.

Rawlins has also been streamlining UNT's administration and formed four councils in areas of capital projects, enrollment, finance and image/public relations. The councils are expected to make critical decisions to help the university grow.

"We want everything," Rawlins said. "This is a place on the move, and it's kind of exciting."

In an interview, Jackson said Rawlins' connection with the UNT community became strong enough to entice him to stay in the position longer.

"He has a lot of skills that will be a great fit with UNT," Jackson said. "I'm excited that he came to like the job and people so much that he was willing to extend it."

Rawlins, 72, former president of Washington State University and the University of Memphis, was named interim president of UNT in April. He started in May and was expected to serve through the 2010-11 academic year. Rawlins replaced Phil C. Diebel, who became interim president upon Bataille's resignation in February. She was UNT's first female president and had served for about 31/2 years.

Rawlins responded to the nomination in a letter posted Tuesday on the university's website.

"UNT is my kind of place, one that truly values students and provides them with meaningful opportunities to grow," Rawlins said.

As interim president, Rawlins received an annual salary of $400,000, a residence and a car. That compensation will be extended in a three-year contract, Jackson said.

Diane Smith, 817-390-7675

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