Finalist named to lead new university in Texas

Guy Bailey was named as the finalist to lead the newly created University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

AUSTIN (AP) — The University of Texas System Board of Regents on Monday selected a former president of the University of Alabama and Texas Tech University as its finalist to lead the newly created University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Monday.

Guy Bailey, a sociolinguist, resigned as president of the University of Alabama in 2012, just two months after taking over. He stepped down to care for his ailing wife, who died in September. Bailey had spent four years as president of Texas Tech and during an earlier stint in the state was the provost of the University of Texas at San Antonio.

“He has experience being a president and chancellor, he’s experienced with both academic and health institutions, and he’s operated at a very high level and had a great deal of success over his career,” board Chairman Paul Foster. “He rose to the top.”

Texas law requires the finalist’s name to be made public at least 21 days before a president is selected. Bailey was expected to visit the university’s campuses in the Rio Grande Valley in the interim.

Regents had previously approved combining the University of Texas-Pan American and University of Texas-Brownsville, as well as plans for an associated medical school. The new university’s first class will begin in the fall of 2015. The border region of South Texas has long been considered underserved and the resources of the combined university are expected to help address some of those shortcomings.

“This is the first new university in the U.S. in the 21st century,” Foster said. “For us to be not only creating a new university, but one with a medical school, is a huge challenge … We think we’ve found the right guy.”

Bailey was also the chancellor of the University of Missouri-Kansas City from 2006 to 2008. In a statement released Monday by the university system, Bailey said, “I view this role as the single most exciting educational opportunity in America today.”

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