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Board of Regents Names Search Committee, Selects John Opperman Interim President

John Opperman

John Opperman, Ph.D.

January 14, 2016 | Written by Doug Hensley

The Texas Tech University System Board of Regents announced today (Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016) that John Opperman has been named interim president of Texas Tech University and that a search committee has been formed to begin the work of identifying a permanent president.

Opperman currently serves as vice chancellor of academic affairs for the Texas Tech University System and has two decades of higher education leadership experience. He will not be a candidate in the search for a new president.

“The board has great confidence in Dr. Opperman,” said Mickey Long, board chairman. “His outstanding track record of achievement and accomplishment will serve Texas Tech University well as we begin the search for our next president.”

The action came after the regents met with Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert L. Duncan and came as a unanimous vote in open session. Opperman begins his new duties Jan. 22.

“I am honored to serve Texas Tech University as interim president and am excited by the opportunity to work with our incredibly talented faculty, students and staff,” Opperman said. “My top priority will be to maintain the momentum that has transformed Texas Tech into a great public research university. There is still much work to be done, and I look forward to working with all members of the Texas Tech community toward an even brighter future.”

Long also announced that Regent Tim Lancaster will serve as chairman of the search committee charged with identifying and recommending Texas Tech University’s next president. The committee comprises representatives from various campus constituencies, including students, deans, faculty and alumni.

“Dr. Opperman has extensive knowledge regarding Texas Tech University and the issues affecting higher education,” Duncan said. “He understands the important mission of Texas Tech and is a natural to serve as interim president while maintaining momentum and moving the institution forward.”

Opperman was named vice chancellor for academic affairs last June and has been responsible for system-wide strategic planning, academic affairs and policy development. Prior to that role, Opperman served as vice chancellor for policy and planning since 2002. He also served as vice chancellor of administration and finance and chief financial officer of the Texas Tech University System from 1996-99. Opperman also has an extensive public policy background, spending 20 years with the state of Texas working on issues related to higher education, public education and state budgeting. He has taught courses in economics at the University of Texas and Texas Tech University.

Opperman holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University. He also holds a master’s and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas. He and his wife, Becky Opperman, also a Texas Tech University alum, have three sons: Justin, Sean and Jared.

Presidential Search Committee

 The following is a list of those who will serve on the Texas Tech University presidential search committee:

In addition to the committee, the following Texas Tech University System leaders have been asked to serve as resources available to the committee:

About the Texas Tech University System 
The Texas Tech University System is one of the top public university systems in Texas and the nation, consisting of four component institutions—Texas Tech UniversityTexas Tech University Health Sciences CenterAngelo State University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso—and operating at more than a dozen academic sites and centers.  Headquartered in Lubbock, Texas, the TTU System has an annual operating budget of nearly $2 billion and approximately 19,000 employees focused on advancing higher education, health care, research and outreach. 

In 2015, the TTU System’s endowment exceeded $1.1 billion, total research expenditures were more than $215 million and total enrollment was approximately 50,000 students. Whether it’s contributing billions of dollars annually in economic impact or being the only system in Texas to house an academic institution, law school, and health-related institution at the same location, the TTU System continues to prove that anything is possible.