UT regents reach outside the box for chancellor

Posted by John Kanelis on

There's thinking outside the box and then there's going way beyond the box.

The University of Texas System Board of Regents has chosen the latter path by selecting retired Navy Admiral William McRaven as the UT System's next chancellor.

McRaven isn't just any retired sailor. He's a SEAL, meaning he went through some of the toughest training possible. He also led the U.S. Navy special operations command and was at that helm during the planning and execution of a daring raid that occurred in early May 2011.

Perhaps you'll recall that was the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the world's most wanted terrorist. SEALs and CIA operatives were flown into Pakistan by Army Special Forces pilots on a mission aimed at eliminating bin Laden. The mission succeeded, thanks in large part to the command-level planning done by Admiral McRaven.

He's now coming to Austin to lead the UT System, which has been beset in recent times by its own unique set of trouble, centering mainly on the regents' relations with UT-Austin President Bill Powers.


The Texas Tribune reports that McRaven won't take over as chancellor until after the end of the year. He'll serve in a non-paid staff post until Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa returns to his post as head of the pediatric transplant unit at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center.

The McRaven appointment is an interesting one in that he brings some tough military discipline to his new job. I doubt he'll suffer fools at all, let alone "gladly."

I figure a Navy SEAL has been through the toughest training imaginable. Let's just hope it toughened him up enough to endure the sometimes-rigorous political combat that goes with running a public university sytem in Texas.

Good luck, admiral.

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