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University of North Texas names health school president Williams as sole finalist for next system chancellor

🕐 3 min read

Dr. Michael R. Williams, current President of the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (HSC), is the sole finalist for The University of North Texas System (UNTS) Chancellor.

The UNTS Board of Regents announced the selection of Williams following a meeting on Nov. 8. The Board of Regents said it unanimously selected Williams after a months-long search process and thoughtful consideration. His selection follows the announcement in June that Chancellor Lesa B. Roe would resign after four years. She will remain in the position until March 2022. Under state law, the board must wait 21 days before taking a final vote on whether to hire the finalist.

“The UNT System Board of Regents selected Dr. Williams as our next Chancellor because we believe in his vision for, and deep understanding of, our system and member institutions, as well as his proven track record transforming HSC,” said Laura Wright, UNT System Board Chair. “Dr. Williams’ innovative mindset, values-based approach and focus on customer service will be essential leading us into a changing future.”

Dr. Williams is set to become the UNTS’s fourth Chancellor. At the request of the UNTS Board of Regents, Williams will continue to serve as President of HSC to lead the search for the next President of HSC and support the leadership transition. Williams was named president of HSC in 2012, the first alumnus to serve as president. Williams was named to the UNTS Board of Trustees in 2011 by then-Gov. Rick Perry.

“I am grateful for the support of the Board of Regents and the confidence they have in me to lead the UNT System as Chancellor,” said Williams. “I am excited and energized for the opportunity to lead these world-class universities forward. The potential has never been greater, and the opportunity is endless. I look forward to positioning the entire UNT System as a thought leader in higher education, and propelling meaningful, innovative ideas forward that will shape the future.” 

Under his leadership, HSC saw record enrollment without raising tuition since 2013, created more than 650 new medical residency slots for the DFW region, opening a new Pharmacy School, established a Lena Pope Early Learning Center on campus and grew research awards by more than $115 million dollars. HSC, along with TCU, launched Texas’ first public-private medical school that welcomed its first class in 2019. HSC was also ranked first among U.S. medical schools for innovation and research impact by the George W. Bush Institute under Williams’ leadership.

Williams practiced anesthesiology and critical care medicine in Texas for more than 20 years and is an experienced business executive and entrepreneur. Williams served as Chief Executive Officer of Hill Country Memorial Hospital, during which time the hospital received numerous state and national awards becoming a Truven Top 100 U.S. hospital in 2011, 2012 and 2013. In addition, the hospital received the 2014 Malcolm Baldrige National Presidential Quality Award.

As sole finalist, Williams is set to become the UNTS’s fourth Chancellor. The Chancellor is the chief executive officer of the UNT System and is responsible for all aspects of the System’s operations, including management of 13,000+ employees and oversight of the three UNTS campuses – UNT in Denton, UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth, and UNT Dallas – as well as additional campuses in Downtown Dallas, Frisco, and the UNT System administration.

As the only public university system based in Dallas-Fort Worth, the UNT System supports local communities and creates economic opportunity through education and research. Over the last five years, combined UNT System enrollment has grown by more than 13 percent to a record 49,000+ students in Fall 2021. UNT System­ institutions award nearly 12,000 degrees each year – including the largest number of master’s and doctoral degrees in the DFW region.

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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