Fourth Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System
Robert Duncan became the fourth chancellor of the Texas Tech University System on July 7, 2014 and retired on Aug. 31, 2018.
Under Duncan’s leadership, the system experienced exciting, record-setting growth and elevated the maturity of its operations to ensure long-term prosperity and sustainability while advancing the system’s key impactful initiatives. Chancellor Duncan worked closely with institution presidents to set forth a vision of purposeful growth and innovation while leading the system’s engagement with leaders in Austin and Washington, D.C., and fundraising efforts to enhance funding and support for component institutions.
In Chancellor Duncan’s four-year tenure, the TTU System raised over $615 million in philanthropic funds, more than any previous chancellor raised during the first four years of an administration. In that same time period, the TTU System endowment grew over $150 million to a total of $1.3 billion. Duncan emphasizes philanthropic giving as the funding that enables system universities to achieve excellence.
In addition to the fiscal and operational health of the system and its institutions, Chancellor Duncan set forth a vision for impactful, need-based university expansions that serve West Texas communities and the overall prosperity of the state. Under his leadership, TTU started the pursuit an innovative School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo while TTUHSC El Paso pursued the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine. When completed, these schools will be the first of their kind in the state in over 100 years and 50 years, respectively. Additionally, Chancellor Duncan brought together the comprehensive mental health resources and services of TTU and TTUHSC to establish the Texas Tech Mental Health Institute in order to serve the mental health needs of rural West Texas and communities across the state.
Before becoming chancellor, Duncan served in the Texas Legislature for more than two decades. He was elected to District 84 in the Texas House of Representatives in 1992. In 1996, he won a special election to the Texas Senate, where he served until resigning to become chancellor. During his time in the Legislature, Duncan was a champion for higher education, crafting programs such as the National Research University Fund and the Texas Research Incentive Program, or TRIP, which incentivizes giving to university research priorities by awarding state matching funds, among other programs. Duncan also was a law partner at Crenshaw, Dupree and Milam in Lubbock for more than 25 years.
Duncan is a lifelong West Texan. He was raised in Vernon, Texas. Duncan and his family have a rich heritage with TTU. His uncle, Marshall Formby, and cousin, Clint Formby, both served on the TTU System Board of Regents.
Duncan received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from TTU in 1976. While completing his undergraduate degree, he served as the student body president. Duncan received his doctorate of jurisprudence from the TTU School of Law in 1981.
Chancellor Duncan is married to Terri Duncan. He has two children—a daughter, Lindsey Pike, who is married to Wes, and a son, Matthew Duncan. Mrs. Duncan also has two children—Justin and Clayton Patterson. All of the children are TTU graduates, and together, they have two grandchildren.