Texas A&M University System Board of Regents Approve Appointments of Three Interim Presidents

COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Thursday approved several high-level appointments, including Dr. Ray M. Keck as Interim President of Texas A&M University-Commerce, Dr. Pablo Arenaz as Interim President of Texas A&M International University, and Dr. James Hallmark as Interim President at West Texas A&M University.

“We are lucky to have such high caliber individuals in our System who are ready and willing to serve in demanding positions as three of our universities experience transitions in leadership,” said Cliff Thomas, Chairman of the Texas A&M Board of Regents. “In each case, I am confident that we are putting our institutions in the capable hands of someone who is already familiar with the university and will be able to help maintain its momentum.”

“I appreciate the Board’s consideration and approval of these appointments,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “Each of these appointees is a proven leader whom I trust to help elevate their respective institution as well as the System as a whole.”

Keck will begin serving as Interim President of Texas A&M-Commerce starting June 1, 2016 and is expected to continue in that role through the 85th Legislative session, which will conclude in May 2017. Since 2001, Keck has served as the fifth president of Texas A&M International University in Laredo. Prior to serving as TAMIU’s president, Keck served as the university’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He holds his Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Princeton University, where he also earned his Bachelor of Arts degree.

Arenaz, the current Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at TAMIU, will assume the role of Interim President at that institution following Keck’s departure. Before joining TAMIU in 2008, Arenaz was vice provost for graduate studies and dean of the graduate school at The University of Texas at El Paso.  Originally from Nevada, he holds a Ph.D. in Genetics and Cell Biology from Washington State University, as well as an M.S. in Biology and a B.S. in Education from the University of Nevada-Reno.

Earlier this month, Sharp announced the formation of a search committee for a new president for TAMIU. He indicated that there is no set timeline for the search or the appointment of Keck’s permanent successor.

Hallmark, currently the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the Texas A&M System, will become the Interim President of West Texas A&M University following the retirement of current President Dr. J. Patrick O’Brien on June 30, 2016. Before taking his current position in 2012, Hallmark served as Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs at WT, where he held a number of academic and administrative posts since 1991. Hallmark holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Communication from the University of Oklahoma, as well as B.A. degrees in Speech and American Studies from Oklahoma Christian College.

In March, Sharp announced the formation of a search committee for WT’s next president. Hallmark will not be a candidate for the permanent position.

Additionally, the Board approved the appointment of Laylan Copelin as Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications. Copelin has served as Executive Director of Media Relations for the System since February 16, 2015. Previously, he was a reporter and editor for 40 years, primarily at the Austin American-Statesman. 

About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $4.2 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center, the Texas A&M System educates more than 140,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $946 million in FY 2015 and helped drive the state’s economy.

Contact: Laylan Copelin
Interim Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications
(979) 458-6425
(512) 289-2782 cell




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