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Education

The University of North Texas Will Have an M.D. as Its New Chancellor

The unanimous selection arrives with decades of experience in the healthcare field.
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University of North Texas
The Hurley Administration Building at the University of North Texas. Wikimedia
Dr. Michael Williams (Courtesy: University of North Texas)

The University of North Texas System Board of Regents has named Dr. Michael R. Williams the only finalist to be the system’s Chancellor. The president of the University of North Texas Health Science Center (HSC) at Fort Worth was unanimous after months of consideration.

Williams will be the system’s fourth chancellor and continue his role with HSC to support the transition. He had previously served on the UNT System’s Board of Regents, and HSC saw record enrollment even without raising tuition since 2013. The school helped create 650 new medical residency slots in the region, opened a new pharmacy school, established an on-campus early learning center, and grew research dollars by more than $115 million. He also launched the state’s first public-private medical school. The George W. Bush Institute named HSC as the top U.S. medical school for innovation and research impact.

Under his leadership during the height of the pandemic, students manned COVID-19 hotlines for Tarrant County residents and participated in county-wide contact tracing efforts, the school opened boutique vaccine sites, and HSC clinicians administered vaccines to homebound patients and ran pop-up vaccine sites in underserved neighborhoods.

“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 via release. “Dr. Williams’ innovative mindset, values-based approach and focus on customer service will be essential leading us into a changing future.”

Williams practiced anesthesiology and critical care medicine for more than 20 years and was also CEO of Hill Country Memorial Hospital in Fredericksburg, Texas, before working with HSC.

“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 via release. “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.”

Williams will follow Lesa Roe, who announced her retirement in June after four years at the helm of the UNT system. The Chancellor is responsible for the entire system’s operations, including managing 13,000 employees and three campuses in Denton, Fort Worth, and Dallas. Over the last five years, enrollment has from by more than 13 percent, with a record of 49,000+ students this fall.

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