A New Leader at UTSA

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Yesterday I had the pleasure of helping usher in a new era of leadership for UT San Antonio at the inauguration of President Taylor Eighmy.

Choosing a new president is one of the most important – in fact it might be the most important – thing we do at the UT System. So there are a couple things I think you should know about the process. First, it was extremely competitive. Attracted by a vibrant, thriving, beautiful city and a university that has grown tremendously in both size and prestige, some of the nation’s top academic leaders had a keen interest in coming to UTSA.

Second, it wasn’t just the Board of Regents or me who led the search. There was deep engagement from the San Antonio community. In addition to civic and business leaders, the Search Advisory Committee also included faculty, students, staff, alumni – groups with a stake in the future of this great university were represented.

So what – or who – were they looking for? Among other things, they were looking for:

  • a scholar and a leader who understands the mission of an emerging research university;
  • a person with great talent and energy, who will recruit more talent and energy to the university;
  • a leader with a sharp focus on student success, which includes a commitment to both quality and affordability; and
  • someone who would be ready, from day one, to build on all the progress that’s been made to date, and take UTSA to new heights.

Taylor Eighmy fits that bill to a tee. He has a phenomenal track record when it comes to advancing research, at, not one, but three public universities – the University of New Hampshire, Texas Tech University and, most recently, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. That’s the kind of background you want for a President charged with moving UTSA toward top tier status.

But while his research credentials are impeccable, he is every bit as passionate, in fact probably more passionate, when it comes to student success. We’re counting on him to harness that passion on behalf of the students of UTSA – to help put them, and keep them, on a path toward a degree, a rewarding career, and a happy, healthy life.

From a credential standpoint, President Eighmy is a man who checks a lot of boxes. Scholar, researcher, teacher, inventor. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that leadership is mostly about the intangibles. So I’m pleased to say UTSA’s new President has the intangible qualities of a great leader as well. He’s warm, passionate, curious, inclusive, bold, and ambitious. He’s got an optimism that is contagious, the courage to set big audacious goals, and a personal charisma that draws people in. He is, in the very best sense of the word, Presidential.

He is the outstanding leader the University of Texas San Antonio needs and deserves. I look forward to cheering him on, supporting him in any way I can, and I know I speak for him when I say “Go Roadrunners!”

Thanks, as always, for reading. I’ll write again soon.