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New president at Tarleton State

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents Aug. 8 named Dr. James Hurley as sole finalist to be Tarleton State University’s 16th president after a nationwide search.

Hurley comes to Tarleton from Tusculum University in Greeneville, Tennessee, where he has served as president since 2017. Tusculum is the oldest university in the state, celebrating 225 years of education.

Hurley begins his duties as president Sept. 1. As required by law, the board may take final action on the hiring after the 21-day notice is given.

He replaces Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio, who is stepping down Aug. 31 after 11 years of service.

Following a short sabbatical, Dottavio will be a faculty member in Tarleton’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, where he has had an appointment as a tenured professor since coming to the university. He also will assist the Division of Institutional Advancement.

“We had several excellent candidates, but at the end of the day Dr. Hurley stood head and shoulders above the rest,” Elaine Mendoza, chair of the A&M System Board of Regents, said in a news release. “We are extremely confident in his ability and excited by his enthusiasm to become part of Tarleton’s rich legacy.”

In 23 years in education, Hurley has served as instructor, professor, dean, vice president and president, with extensive experience at private, liberal arts and faith-based institutions.

Under his leadership at Tusculum, the school converted from college to university status and added the College of Health Sciences, the Niswonger College of Optometry, and the College of Science, Technology and Math.

Prior to Tusculum, he was executive vice president, dean of the School of Business, and professor of leadership and education at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.

“Dr. Hurley possesses the executive leadership and innovative spirit needed to continue Tarleton’s trajectory as the premier student-focused university in Texas and beyond,” A&M System Regent Bill Mahomes, who chaired the search committee, said in the announcement.

“I am confident he will continue John Tarleton’s dream of providing accessible, affordable higher education. His demonstrated ability to connect with students, faculty, staff and the community is invaluable to Tarleton’s mission,” Mahomes said.

As Tarleton’s chief executive officer, Hurley will supervise 1,400 employees, manage a $185 million annual budget and provide vision for a comprehensive curriculum to serve more than 13,000 students at Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, The RELLIS Academic Alliance in Bryan and online.

Hurley is a first-generation college student. He holds a doctorate in educational leadership and finance from Morehead State University, a master’s degree in education from Indiana University, and a bachelor’s degree in business education and management from the University of Pikeville in Pikeville, Ky., where he served as president from 2013 to 2015.

He and his wife, Kindall, have two sons, Drew and Carter, and two daughters, Blayklee and Brooklyn.

“I am honored and humbled to be joining an incredible institution with an outstanding legacy of academic excellence and a steeped tradition of student success,” Hurley said in the news release. “Kindall and I enthusiastically look forward to meeting with students, faculty, staff and community members during the next step of the process. Tarleton State University has a bright future and we cannot wait to join Texan Nation.”

Hurley completed the Institute for Presidential Leadership at Harvard University and received a certificate of higher education management from Vanderbilt University and a Rank 1 Certification in educational supervision from the University of Kentucky.

– FWBP Staff

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