Abbott announces new UT System regent selections

Anusha Lalani

Gov. Greg Abbott announced his three appointees for the UT System Board of Regents Monday, which includes the recently retired state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler.

Abbott’s announcement comes as the terms of three regents are due to expire in February. The outgoing regents include Alex Cranberg, Brenda Pejovich and Wallace Hall, with the first two retiring regents supporting Hall in his review of the UT System and its admission process. Abbott’s selection made the UT board the only university to have all of its departing regents replaced with new ones.

Abbott’s additional appointees include Rad Weaver, CEO of the University-owned McCombs Partners, and Janice Longoria, the former vice chair of the UT System board.

The new regents’ terms will become effective Feb. 1 after the Senate approves them. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who is the president of the upper chamber, said he is in favor of Abbott’s choice of Eltife, according to the Texas Tribune.   

"In the Senate, Kevin built a reputation as someone who demanded accountability and transparency in Government,” Patrick said in a statement. “That philosophy will serve him well as a regent. I will be supportive of his nomination.”

Eltife served in the Senate from March 25, 2004 to Jan. 9, 2017 and on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Eltife said he appreciates Abbott’s selection and will work tirelessly as a regent if approved.

“I will work to earn the approval of the Texas Senate and, if confirmed, work hard for the citizens of this state to make sure tax dollars are spent wisely in a transparent manner and that we do everything we can to make higher education at the University of Texas affordable for Texans,” Eltife said in a statement.

Hall requested the Texas Supreme Court to expedite his lawsuit against Chancellor Bill McRaven before his term ends next month. The lawsuit involves Hall requesting to see unredacted student records McRaven gave him in order to make sure the admissions office is not admitting under-qualified students based off of powerful connections.