U of I’s Nellis front-runner for Texas Tech post

University of Idaho officials announced Friday that President Duane Nellis is the lone finalist to become the next president of Texas Tech University.

Nellis has served as University of Idaho’s president since 2009.

The Texas Tech University System Board of Regents are expected to vote on the presidency in late March, following a 21-day waiting period mandated under Texas law, according to a new release.

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Duane Nellis

Nellis was not available for comment — and according to a U of I news release, he won’t be talking until the regents’ vote.

But here’s what Nellis said in a U of I news release:

“When Ruthie and I made the move to the Northwest and the University of Idaho almost four years ago, we believed I would be completing my career as president of this special place. We care deeply for the University of Idaho and are so proud of Idaho’s ‘flagship’ national research university and all the people who make it successful.

“At the same time, I did not expect to be presented with the unique and exciting opportunity that the presidency at Texas Tech University represents.”

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Nellis earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in geography from Oregon State University. He served as a college faculty member and administrator at Kansas State University and West Virginia University before accepting the job at University of Idaho.

The Idaho State Board of Education says it will begin a national search for a successor, once Nellis’ move becomes final.

“The Board congratulates Duane Nellis on his selection as the finalist for the Presidency of Texas Tech University, and we wish him the very best,” board vice president Don Soltman said in a statement.  “President Nellis has been a visionary leader at the University of Idaho and a strong advocate of higher education in our state. Under his leadership, the university has continued to build on its reputation as a nationally recognized research institution and its commitment to student success and academic excellence.”

Located in Lubbock, Texas, Texas Tech serves more than 30,000 students between its undergraduate and graduate programs, and is a member of the Big 12 athletic conference. The university was founded in 1928, and offers 150 academic programs through its 11 academic colleges, according to the university’s website.

More reading: For a campus perspective, here’s an article from the U of I Argonaut. And for a perspective from Nellis’ next stop, here’s an article from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

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