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Dr. Larry R. Faulkner announces resignation as president of The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of The University of Texas at Austin since 1998, today (June 30) announced his plans to resign as president.

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AUSTIN, Texas— Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of The University of Texas at Austin since 1998, today (June 30) announced his plans to resign as president.

Larry R. Faulkner

Dr. Larry R. Faulkner

Visit A President’s Legacy Web site for more information about the Faulkner administration and the presidential transition.

Faulkner said his announcement enables the University of Texas System’s Board of Regents to plan an orderly succession and ensures a smooth transition to a new administration.

“By the end of my service,” Faulkner said, “I will have completed just about eight years in office. This is quite a long period in the history of our university. Only one or two of the 26 individuals who have held this office will have served longer. The university has had many successes during the past eight years, and my wife, Mary Ann, and I have felt privileged to have been a part of them. But the time comes for the energy and fresh ideas of a new leader, and both of us are firm in the view that this is the time for change here. We see our choice as one between committing to service through and beyond the legislative session of 2007 or stepping down on a schedule that leaves time for a successor to prepare for that session. It is clear to us that this is the moment to commit to change.”

Faulkner said he and his wife “have no specific plans for the next phase of our lives.”

“It is our target to hand the reins to a successor on March 1, 2006,” Faulkner said, “but the search could take longer. I have indicated to the chancellor and the chairman that I may be willing to serve beyond that date if the transition requires it. On the other hand, Mary Ann and I are also reserving the latitude to make the change even a little earlier, if necessary, for whatever comes next for us.”

The UT System Board of Regents will conduct a national search for a successor to Faulkner. The chairman of the board will appoint a presidential search advisory committee to solicit and review nominees and applicants before the Board of Regents interviews finalists and selects a new president. [For more information about the presidential transition, visit the Presidential Search Process.]

“I think that all the members of the Board agree with me when I say that Larry Faulkner is the very best president of a national research university in the country—period,” said James R. Huffines, chairman of the University of Texas System Board of Regents. “He has been an invaluable asset to UT Austin, to the System and to Texas. His announcement today marks the conclusion not only of his tenure as president, but a historic milestone for this institution. Larry Faulkner’s remarkable legacy to UT is that he has not only achieved great things, he has established a very solid foundation for the future.

“From the first day he set foot on campus, he has elevated the stature of UT as a major research university. His relationship with the faculty, students, alumni and the Texas higher education community has been outstanding. Larry’s decision to come here sent a message to every academic leader in the country that Texas has arrived and will not be satisfied with taking a backseat to any university system.” 

“Larry Faulkner is a leader,” said Mark G. Yudof, chancellor of the University of Texas System, “a visionary and among the best university presidents in the country. Like the most accomplished and wise in every endeavor, he is leaving at the top of his game, when all of us wish he would stay longer and do more—and we have told him so. Difficult as it will be to replace him, we respect Larry’s decision and wish him Godspeed for whatever comes next.”

During Faulkner’s tenure, the university introduced a wide range of critical new academic programs. Through the Commission of 125, a group of alumni and citizens, it developed a new long-range, strategic plan. Faulkner reorganized and modernized the institution’s administration and installed a structure to foster more effective strategic planning. He introduced new programs and initiatives to promote participation in university life by all segments of the Texas population. And he gave new emphasis to human resources, addressing issues of faculty and staff salary competitiveness, organizational structure and campus services. Under Faulkner’s leadership, the university also completed the most successful fund-raising campaign in its history, raising more than $1.6 billion.

Among achievements of the Faulkner administration:

  • Charging, supporting and following up the Commission of 125, a group of alumni and citizens who charted in fall 2004 a long-term vision and plan for the university, including a proposal for curricular reform.
  • Supporting a set of critical new academic programs, including the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Institute of Computational Engineering and Sciences, the Film Initiative, the Harrington Fellows Program, the Jackson School of Geosciences, the School of Life Sciences, the Center for Nano and Molecular Science and Technology, and the South Asia Institute.
  • Consistently emphasizing improved student success through better freshman retention, faster progress toward degrees and higher rates of graduation.
  • Committing steadily to participation in the life of the university by all segments of the Texas population (racial, ethnic and geographic), through innovative and aggressive admissions and financial aid programs, through appointment of a diverse leadership, through the establishment of UTOPIA (an innovative, interactive Web site) and through personal engagement with people and communities across the state.
  • Reorganizing and modernizing the university administration, including installation of more effective planning mechanisms.
  • Completing the “We’re Texas” campaign, the most successful fund-raising campaign in the university’s history, with more than $1.6 billion raised, through gifts of 130,000 donors.
  • Building the Blanton Museum and strengthening its holdings through the acquisition of the Suida-Manning and Steinberg collections.
  • Supporting broadly the development of the university’s holdings of rare materials, including the acquisition of the Woodward-Bernstein Watergate archive.
  • Working constructively with nine generations of student leadership on a large range of issues, including the development of a strongly collaborative approach to the annual development of tuition policy.
  • Fostering flat-rate tuition as a mechanism for allowing students to take greater advantage of the university, while making more rapid progress toward degrees. At the same time, supporting a financial aid program that preserves access and affordability for students in need.
  • Giving consistent attention to human resources, including salary competitiveness, thorough reorganization and strengthening of Human Resource Services, eight consecutive years with competitive raise programs, establishment of the Staff Council and preservation of benefits in the face of negative actions at the state level.
  • Giving priority to Latin America among the university’s international interests.
  • Developing the first new student housing on campus in 30 years.
  • Providing leadership at the state and national levels on advanced computer networking for support of research and education.
  • Participating in the founding of the Group of Six, a strategic planning group of university presidents from six major athletic conferences, and working extensively at the national level on the future of intercollegiate athletics.
  • Strengthening the relationships among the university and Austin’s technology, business, educational and arts communities.
  • Supporting innovative efforts to improve public education in Texas and beyond, including the UTeach program, the UT Elementary School and the National Center for Educational Accountability, whose mission is to promote best practices in schools and to improve student achievement nationally.
  • Sponsoring UT Direct as a vehicle for providing hundreds of university services online, faster, less expensively and with better customer satisfaction.
  • Reopening of the Tower observation deck in 1999 in observance of the university’s 116th birthday. The deck had been closed for 25 years.

Faulkner was appointed the university’s 27th president on Dec. 16, 1997, and officially took office on April 13, 1998, after serving as provost, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and head of the Department of Chemistry during 25 years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Faulkner’s tenure is the third longest among the university’s presidents. Dr. Harry Yandell Benedict served in the position from 1927 to 1937. Dr. Theophilus S. Painter served from 1944 to 1952. Should Faulkner remain as president until March 2006 his tenure will be the second longest among university presidents.

For more information about the Faulkner administration and the presidential transition visit A President’s Legacy Web site.


The University of Texas System will have a press availability at 1:30 p.m., today (June 30), on the 9th floor of Ashbel Smith Hall, 201 W. 7th Street, Austin, regarding the presidential search process for a successor to Dr. Faulkner. Details of the location and other information are available from the UT System Office of Public Affairs (512-499-4363), or can be viewed on the UT System News Web site.

For more information contact: Don Hale, 512-475-6869.