October 28, 1999

UNT selects U.S. Army Surgeon General Ronald R. Blanck for UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth presidency

FORT WORTH (UNT), Texas -- Concluding a nationwide search, the University of North Texas System Board of Regents today selected Lt. Gen. Ronald R. Blanck to become the new president of the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth.

Blanck, 58, currently is the Surgeon General of the United States Army and commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command — with more than 46,000 military personnel and 26,000 civilian employees throughout the world.

UNT launched the search early this year after UNT Health Science Center President Dr. David M. Richards announced plans in December 1998 to serve one final year and then retire.

Blanck will begin his new duties at the UNT Health Science Center on Aug. 15, 2000, after he retires from the Army on July 31.

When the UNT Regents meet in November, they will consider a nomination by UNT System Chancellor Alfred F. Hurley, developed in consultation with Blanck and Richards, of an interim president to serve between the time of Richards’ retirement and Blanck’s arrival.

"I am absolutely delighted that General Blanck has decided to focus his post-Army career on this key leadership role in the UNT system," Hurley said. "He has demonstrated admirable leadership skills and vision in a series of increasingly responsible experiences in Army medicine."

"In addition," Hurley said, "General Blanck has demonstrated a keen commitment to the education and training of future osteopathic physicians and other health professionals that will position him to build on the excellent foundation that Dr. Richards has laid at the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth."

Blanck said, "My wife, Donna, and I are very pleased and excited at the prospect of becoming part of the University of North Texas, the UNT Health Science Center and the Fort Worth community. I look forward to continuing to promote the tradition of excellence the UNT Health Science Center stands for."

After entering the Army in 1968, Blanck, an osteopathic physician certified in internal medicine, was initially assigned as a medical officer in Vietnam.

In his distinguished 31-year military career, Blanck has served as commander of Walter Reed Medical Center North Atlantic Region Medical Command and director of professional services and chief of Medical Corps Affairs in the office of the Surgeon General of the Army.

He also has served as assistant chief of the General Medicine Service in the Department of Medicine at Walter Reed, assistant dean of student affairs at the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine and chief of the Department of Medicine at Brooke Army Medical Center.

He is a fellow and past governor of the American College of Physicians. He also is an active member of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, the American Osteopathic Association, the Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons and the American Medical Association.

His academic credentials include adjunct teaching positions at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University School of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He earned his doctor of osteopathy degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. His bachelor of science degree is from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.

Blanck’s military honors include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and Meritorious Service and Army Commendation Medals.

When he assumes his new duties at the UNT Health Science Center, Blanck will become one of two presidents in the UNT system. The system was formally established last July by the unanimous vote of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board after it reviewed the designation at the request of the Texas Legislature. The new designation made UNT one of only six public university systems in Texas — and the only public university system centered in North Texas.

Although formerly not formally recognized as a system, UNT and the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) — the forerunner of the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth — have operated like a system since 1975. That was the year that TCOM became a state institution under the direction of the UNT Board of Regents and the oversight of the UNT president, and subsequently the UNT chancellor.

As UNT’s partner institution, the college was named a health science center in 1993. Today, it is a vital part of the UNT system that includes TCOM (the only osteopathic medical school in Texas), the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the School of Public Health, a physician assistant studies program, six research institutes and the Physicians and Surgeons Medical Group — one of Tarrant County’s largest multi-specialty group practices. The growth in the center’s research funding is the fastest among all Texas health science centers.

Retiring president Richards was widely acknowledged as a leader in his field from the time that he took the job in 1986. He played a key role in the development of partnerships between the UNT Health Science Center and other health education and health care institutions across the nation.

Citing Richards for his accomplishments, Hurley said, "Throughout his tenure as president, Dr. Richards has brought national attention to the capabilities of the UNT Health Science Center, especially to its work in primary care medicine and in related research such as its nationally recognized study on cholesterol."

"General Blanck will take the helm of an already highly successful institution — one that has as its centerpiece the leading osteopathic medical school in the United States along with a growing number of other components," Hurley said.

Blanck and his wife, Donna, have been married for 28 years. They have two daughters —Jennifer, a student a Trinity College in Washington, D.C., and Susan, a student at the University of Vermont. He was born in Manheim, Pa.