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UH System names UHV interim president

By Carolina Astrain
April 9, 2014 at 11 p.m.
Updated April 9, 2014 at 11:10 p.m.

16 x 9 UHV president

The search for the University of Houston-Victoria's interim president ended Wednesday.

Raymond Victor Morgan Jr. was appointed UHV's new leader by University of Houston System Chancellor Renu Khator.

"He's a genuine gentleman," said Ron Salazar, UHV Faculty Senate president. "I had the honor of participating in an interview with him."

Salazar said he admires Morgan's track record, which reflects a commitment to shared governance.

"His ability to work with diverse constituents is demonstrated by his work at the University of North Texas."

Morgan will earn an annual salary of $200,000 and a $2,000-per-month car and housing allowance, according to UH System spokesman Richard Bonnin.

Morgan will not be eligible for the permanent presidential position, Bonnin wrote in an email. Morgan could not be reached Wednesday by phone or email.

The appointment brings UHV one step closer to a coming transition that sparked criticism and discontent among faculty members and Victoria leaders.

Last month, the senate gave former UHV President Phil Castille a vote of no confidence after the demotion of the recently reinstated UHV provost, Jeffrey Cass.

In late February, the UH System Board of Regents voted to remove UHV faculty and programs from the University of Houston Sugar Land campus and transfer the UHV School of Nursing to the University of Houston.

The changes are anticipated to occur during the next two to five years.

However, not everyone is convinced that Morgan's appointment puts UHV on steady ground.

Claud Jacobs, a local financial planner and supporter of UHV programs, recently spoke out against the changes approved by the regents.

"I'm going to be skeptical of anyone they appoint in that position," Jacobs said. "He's probably just going to be another 'yes' person for the UH System."

Victoria businessman Dennis Patillo said he plans to watch what direction the university is headed as it moves forward with changes.

"This part of Texas is grossly underserved by higher education," Patillo said. "We need to make sure that all children and their parents have the ability to get them to college."

UHV Provost Jeffrey Cass said he's confident that the new interim president will improve the university's relationship with community leaders.

Morgan, 71, was the first faculty member to ascend to the rank of presidency at Sul Ross State University, a public university in Alpine, in 1990.

After stepping down in 2009, Morgan worked on developing the University of North Texas at Dallas campus into a freestanding master's level campus from a branch campus that was part of the University of North Texas.

As president at Sul Ross University, Morgan created an administrator evaluation system for non-faculty employees.

"I'm sure he will fit very well into our situation," Cass said. "The system has made a wise choice."

To read UHV's press release on the appointment, go here.

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