Gov. Abbott appoints John Michael Austin as Student Regent for UT Board of Regents

Mason Rouser, Senior News Reporter

Gov. Greg Abbott appointed John Michael Austin as the Student Regent for the University of Texas System Board of Regents earlier this month for a term lasting from June 2023 to May 2024. 

The Student Regent is a non-voting member of the Board of Regents who represents students across all 13 institutions within the UT System. The governor appoints a student recommended by the chancellor of the UT System. 

“The Student Regent serves as a voice for students by bringing a well-informed student perspective to the deliberations of the Board of Regents,” former Student Regent Neelesh Mutyala said in a statement. “Having students in mind at the forefront of every discussion, the other regents listened attentively and greatly valued my input.”

Austin is a third-year medical student at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine. He previously served as the Legislative Director for the Chairman of House Insurance in the Texas House of Representatives, where he authored a bill to improve access to insulin for uninsured Texans. According to the UT System’s website, Austin also served as the President of the Texas Medical Association chapter at UT Health Science Center – San Antonio.

“My experience as a legislative staffer taught me how digging into issues and creating novel solutions could allow me to help meaningfully improve the lives of Texans,” Austin said in a statement. “I view this regent role as another opportunity to both learn and take what I’ve learned to maximize the value students get from the UT system.”

As Student Regent, Austin said he looks forward to ensuring students get the most value out of their education at a UT institution, whether by keeping tuition affordable or improving job prospects after graduation. 

“The project I’m looking forward to the most involves learning more about current efforts to facilitate student job placement after both graduate and undergraduate degree completion and supporting increased opportunities for co-ops and internships,” Austin said. “I believe the UT System is one of Texas’ best drivers of economic opportunity, and helping students secure a job they’re happy with after graduation is one of our most important markers of success.”

As a former Student Regent, Mutyala said he recommends the Student Regent engage with students throughout the UT system and develop strong relationships with administrators. 

“I have had a chance to talk to John Michael and know he is a passionate leader who will be a strong voice for all UT System students,” Mutyala said. “I look forward to his upcoming service as our Student Regent.”