AUSTIN — The University of Texas System Board of Regents named Michael V. Tidwell, currently the dean of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business, as the sole finalist for the presidency of The University of Texas at Tyler.
Regents voted unanimously to select Tidwell at a special board meeting Tuesday. The decision followed an executive session where regents interviewed several candidates and considered recommendations of a presidential search advisory committee that reviewed nominations and applications for the position. The search for a new leader for UT Tyler began earlier this year, when President Rodney H. Mabry, Ph.D., announced in February his plans to retire at the end of 2016.
Tidwell, 43, leads more than 100 faculty members and 3,500 students at Eastern Michigan’s College of Business, where he has served since 2012. Tidwell served in the same position at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, and was assistant dean at Clayton State University’s School of Business in Georgia, beginning in 2007.
Tidwell has held a number of faculty appointments at colleges across the country and has also served as a visiting professor in India and Kenya.
Tidwell has demonstrated superior expertise in many areas including fundraising and external relations, strategic planning and program leadership, as well as faculty and staff leadership.
UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven said the selection was not easy for the Board of Regents who reviewed an impressive list of potential candidates, but Tidwell’s presence and charisma stood out.
“Dr. Tidwell is a visionary leader with a clear passion for student success,” McRaven said. “President Mabry has done such a wonderful job leading UT Tyler for nearly two decades and will, no doubt, leave big shoes to fill. We believe Dr. Tidwell has the enthusiasm, experience and vision to lead UT Tyler into the future.”
Tidwell earned his bachelor’s degree in communication from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where he also competed as a NCAA Division 1 athlete as a volleyball player, before completing his master’s degree in communication from Washington State University. Tidwell received his Ph.D. in organizational studies from Washington State University.
“I am quite honored that the Board of Regents saw fit to make me the sole finalist. UT Tyler is a tremendous institution with a great future ahead of it and I am just excited to be a part of it,” Tidwell said. “It’s clear that UT Tyler has a real connection to the community and I look forward to continuing the wonderful work Dr. Mabry has done in that space.”
He and his wife have two sons – one a junior at the College of William & Mary and the other a high school sophomore. Tidwell and his wife were high school sweethearts, both born and raised in Los Angeles County, California, but he said his grandfather grew up in Tyler and he is looking forward to reigniting that connection.
Regents Chairman Paul Foster thanked the faculty, staff, students and community members who served on the search advisory committee, including Regents Brenda Pejovich and Ernest Aliseda who represented the Board of Regents.
“We are so appreciative for all the hard work that has gone into making this important decision,” Foster said. “We are excited about the energy and enthusiasm Dr. Tidwell will bring to UT Tyler as well as his demonstrated ability to engage with a community, to work collaboratively and to focus on student success.”
Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for a presidency at least 21 days before making an appointment. During that time, UT System leaders will be coordinating meetings to give the university and Tyler communities the opportunity to hear from Tidwell.