DENTON (UNT), Texas — The University of North Texas System Board of Regents voted today to name former Texas legislator and Dallas County Judge Lee Jackson as the sole finalist for the position of UNT System chancellor. If confirmed by the board later this month, Jackson will become the system's third chancellor.
The selection of Jackson completes a nationwide search begun in January of this year, following Dr. Alfred F. Hurley's announcement of plans to step down on August 31. Today's announcement begins a minimum 21-day interim period required by law before the board votes to officially appoint Jackson to the position.
Jackson has served as Dallas County Judge, the county's chief elected official, since 1987. As county judge, he has been responsible for regional advances in transportation, and has been an advocate for advances in public education, juvenile justice, workforce development, information technology, employee benefits and energy management.
"Judge Jackson's experience and high-profile leadership in the North Texas region are a perfect fit for our system, which is the only university system whose primary mission is to serve this region," says UNT System Board of Regents Chair Bobby Ray. "His experience in the legislature, interest in education, and knowledge of regional, state and national issues will help to advance all components of our system, including the future UNT at Dallas."
The UNT Board of Regents selected Jackson from a diverse pool of candidates recommended by an advisory committee comprising students, faculty and staff of the system's component institutions and community representatives. The board served as the search selection committee. Korn/Ferry International, an executive search firm, aided both committees in the search process.
The board has not set a confirmation date.
Jackson is recognized as a regional leader in the area of transportation, having formed in 1991 the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition, which advocates for transportation funding and oversees major transportation projects. He is the past chair of the Texas Conference of Urban Counties and is a member of the Regional Transportation Council and the Partners in Mobility Executive Board. Jackson was instrumental in the creation of the North Texas Tollway Authority in 1997.
Jackson represented Dallas County in the Texas House of Representatives from 1976 to 1986, where he chaired the Business and Commerce Committee and was a member of the Public Education Committee. He was named one of the Ten Best Legislators by Texas Monthly magazine in 1983. D Magazine named Jackson a Legislative All-Star in 1981 and Dallas' Best Public Official in 1996.
He also received the North Central Texas Council of Government's William J. Pitstick Regional Leadership Award in 2000, the Texas Department of Transportation's Russell Perry Award in 1999 and the North Texas Commission's TEAM Award in 1999.
The son of two North Texas alumni, Jackson was named an Honorary University of North Texas Alumnus in April of this year in recognition for his advocacy on behalf of establishing the UNT System Center at Dallas and the future UNT at Dallas.
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Duke University and a Master of Public Administration from Southern Methodist University.
The UNT chancellor oversees a three-component system, which is comprised of the University of North Texas in Denton, the UNT System Center at Dallas and the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth.
Note to Editors: An electronic image of Lee Jackson can be found at: http://www.dallascounty.org/html/comcrt/ljack.html
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