The University of Texas System Board of Regents on Tuesday evening named Admiral William H. McRaven, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, as the sole finalist to become chancellor of the system. A Navy SEAL and an alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin, Admiral McRaven is best known as the official who designed and oversaw the operation that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa is leaving the system to return to academic medicine. Cigarroa was among the shrinking number of higher education system heads in Texas who had academic careers prior to their system positions. The UT system has seen considerable conflict in recent months between regents close to Governor Rick Perry and Bill Powers, the president of UT Austin.
McRaven's appointment won quick approval from the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education, a group that has backed Powers and been harshly critical of some recent moves by some regents. "We applaud the selection of Admiral William McRaven as the next chancellor of the UT System, and commend the Board of Regents on their diligent search. McRaven is a proven leader with a strong backbone and the courage of his convictions who will stand up for what is right and in the best interests of the people of Texas. His inspirational 2014 UT Austin commencement speech gave insight into the type of leader he will be – one who respects diverse viewpoints, values collaboration and has unmatched tenacity."
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