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Hudson lands as Texas Tech vice chancellor

June 25, 2011 at 1:25 a.m.
Updated June 26, 2011 at 1:26 a.m.


ABOUT TTUThe Texas Tech University System, founded in 1996 and based in Lubbock, is home to three universities. They are:

Texas Tech University.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

Angelo State University.

Tim Hudson, the popular former University of Houston-Victoria president, will soon hold a prestigious job in north Texas.

He will serve as the Texas Tech University System's vice chancellor beginning Aug. 1, the Advocate has learned. Tech is expected to make a formal announcement Monday.

The Tech System and Hudson declined comment about the vice chancellor position.

While Hudson's supporters view Monday's announcement as bittersweet, his transfer could pave the way for UHV's move into the Tech System.

Hudson's forced reassignment in August - from UHV president to special assistant to the chancellor - was the last straw for many people who already were unsatisfied with the University of Houston System.

These supporters viewed the reassignment as a move to punish Hudson for spurring unprecedented growth at UHV and raising expectations.

Efforts to realign the school with another system gained steam soon thereafter. While legislation filed earlier this year aimed to move UHV into the Texas A&M University System, the Aggies were not everyone's first choice.

"My first choice was Texas Tech, and they really wanted to be here," said Claud Jacobs, a Victoria businessman and realignment advocate.

During talks, Tech and its chancellor displayed strong interest in having UHV join it - even if such a move did not include the multi-institution learning centers in Cinco Ranch and Sugar Land, Jacobs and others said.

UHV's total student population includes many of the students who attend in-person and distance learning classes via those centers. This poses a tricky reality when discussing a system switch.

The switch is simplified if a university system is willing to accept Victoria's campus by itself. Such a decision could require rebuilding a healthy student population - which Tech seemed open to, Jacobs said.

Additionally, Tech is close to raising $1 billion to grow its system. While A&M has campuses in nearby Corpus Christi, Kingsville and San Antonio, Tech does not have a foothold in this part of the state.

Part of Hudson's job will entail expanding the system's brand statewide, the Advocate learned.

"Who knows? Tech might get back into the picture now," Jacobs said. "To me, any system would be better than what we have so long as they want to come."

State Rep. Geanie Morrison, Victoria Mayor Will Armstrong and Dale Fowler, the Victoria Economic Development Corp president, declined to say Hudson's new job will alter realignment efforts. They did not, however, deny the possibility.

"I believe what Victoria has to offer makes us appealing to any system," Morrison, a Victoria Republican, said by email. "In saying that, I also believe it is incumbent upon our community ... to come together and make a decision on what is best for our future."

That future includes discussion of Morrison's legislation, which was delayed a session. Key legislators and the chancellors of both the A&M and UH systems were scheduled to meet earlier this month. Talks, however, were delayed because of the legislature's special session and the stepping down of A&M's chancellor.

All sides are slated to meet in coming months. When they do meet, will discussions include the potential switch of UHV into the Tech System?

"Everything is still on the table - and I mean everything," Armstrong said.

The Tech System is no stranger to realignment. In 2007, Angelo State University became the first school in Texas history to switch systems - from the Texas State University System to the Tech System - when the host system opposed it.

Could the same happen for UHV?

"I don't have any comment about that," Hudson said by phone. "UHV is a terrific institution with an amazing potential upside. I certainly hope community leaders and others persist in ensuring it reaches its full potential."

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