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Schovanec Named Texas Tech’s 17th President

Lawrence Schovanec

Lawrence Schovanec, Ph.D. 

Longtime faculty member, administrator began tenure on the Lubbock campus in 1982.

July 7, 2016 | Written by Chris Cook

Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert Duncan announced today (July 7) the official appointment of Provost Lawrence Schovanec as the 17th president of Texas Tech University. The announcement follows today’s special called Board of Regents meeting and vote to affirm Schovanec as university president. Schovanec will officially begin the role Aug. 1.

“I am excited to welcome Dr. Schovanec as the next president of Texas Tech University,” Duncan said. “He has served Texas Tech tremendously for more than three decades and has a bold vision for our future. I have no doubt he will elevate our university to an even greater level of success.”

Prior to his appointment, Schovanec served the university as provost since December 2013 and was interim president from July 2012 through March 2013. 

“I am grateful for the opportunity to once again lead this wonderful university, to which I have devoted my career, and continue to work alongside so many talented faculty, staff and students who make Texas Tech University a leader in higher education,” Schovanec said. “I appreciate the confidence and support of Chancellor Duncan, the Board of Regents and the search committee. To the Texas Tech family and all who support and care for this university, I commit my fullest efforts to the continued advancement of Texas Tech University as a world-class institution.” 

Schovanec succeeds John Opperman, who has served as interim president since January. 

“It’s important to thank Dr. Opperman for his time serving as interim president,” Duncan said. “He not only maintained Texas Tech’s momentum, but he worked diligently to move the institution forward.” 

“I’d also like to express my appreciation of interim president John Opperman,” Schovanec added. “Texas Tech benefited from his thoughtful and perceptive leadership.” 

During his time as provost, Schovanec helped strengthen Texas Tech’s position as a leading national research university. In 2016, Texas Tech was recognized by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a Tier One university in the Highest Research Activity category. The university also was recently reaffirmed for accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. 

“Texas Tech University is in a great position nationally and we have immense potential for an even brighter future,” Schovanec said. “We have a wonderful faculty who are dedicated to research and teaching and a student body that continues to achieve at higher levels every year. This is a great time to be at Texas Tech University.” 

Before being named chair of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics in 1998, Schovanec was a faculty member in mathematics since 1982. He served as interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences from September 2008 through May 2010, when he was named dean. He has received the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award and is a member of the Texas Tech Teaching Academy. 

Schovanec earned his doctorate in mathematics from Indiana University, his master’s degree from Texas A&M University and his bachelor of science from Phillips University. 

A widely published author, Schovanec’s work has appeared in numerous academic journals and he has spoken extensively at professional conferences. His research interests are in the fields of biomechanical and physiological control systems and solid mechanics. He has received more than $3.2 million in external funding for his research. 

A nationwide search was conducted to identify candidates for the presidency. The Board of Regents voted to select Schovanec as sole finalist June 16 after conducting interviews with candidates and considering recommendations from Duncan and the presidential search committee. State law requires 21 days to pass before final action can be taken by a university governing body for the official appointment of a president.  

The search and selection process for the new president of Texas Tech University began following M. Duane Nellis’ resignation in January.

Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert Duncan announces the official appointment of Provost Lawrence Schovanec as the 17th president of Texas Tech University. View the full news conference here.  

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.