UT Regents Elect First Woman to Lead Board

AUSTIN, Texas – Colleen McHugh, appointed a University of Texas System regent in 2005 by Gov. Rick Perry, has been elected as the board’s first chairwoman.

 The regents on Wednesday unanimously chose the 63-year-old attorney and hospital executive from Corpus Christi, who had been vice chairwoman, to lead the panel at a time of increasing budget challenges.

 The UT System has 15 academic and health campuses, about 200,000 students and more than 84,000 employees.

 “I know the board is committed to following through on the initiatives begun during the last several years and reaffirming its shared commitment to transparency and excellence,” McHugh said in a statement. “Our work remains unchanged: ensuring that the University of Texas System serves our students, the people of Texas and the nation well.”

 McHugh succeeds banker James Huffines of Austin, who in late 2009 announced he would no longer serve as chairman but would remain on the governing panel.

 Regents on Wednesday approved a tuition hike for the flagship UT campus in Austin totaling 5.4 percent this fall and nearly 3.9 percent for the 2011-2012 period. Regents overall approved tuition increases at all of the system’s campuses except for a health campus in Tyler that has no students.

 McHugh earned her undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and her law degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. She is a vice president for compliance, risk management and privacy with the Christus Spohn Health System.

 Her term as a regent is scheduled to expire Feb. 1, 2011.