Yudof undecided on Texas chancellorship

Brad Unangst

University President Mark Yudof said Wednesday that University of Texas officials have contacted him about their Chancellor position, but cautioned he has not come to any conclusions about his professional future.

“I haven’t made any decisions,” Yudof said. “They have not offered me a job. I haven’t accepted a job.”

Yudof is one of Texas’ top candidates to replace retiring Chancellor R. D. Burck, according to the Austin American Statesman. Other candidates include North Carolina State University Chancellor Marye Anne Fox and an unidentified women from the University of California system.

Texas officials have neither acknowledged nor denied candidate names.

University of Texas Board of Regents are planning a special meeting Friday to identify a finalist or finalists for the position, university officials said.

Before assuming presidency at the University in 1997, Yudof spent 26 years at the University of Texas-Austin as an assistant professor, law school dean and provost.

Along with those professional ties, Yudof said he and his wife have close family and friends in Texas.

“The issues for me are in large extent personal issues and that’s what I need to ponder,” Yudof said.

“I’m not sure any other public university would have the same emotional tug,” he said.

Yudof said Texas contacted him about the Chancellor position two years ago, but he withdrew his name early in the process because the time was not right.

The Chancellor oversees students, administration and staff in nine academic institutions and six health institutions in the University of Texas system. He or she interacts with a variety of elected officials, donors, and professionals, according to the University’s Web site. The University of Texas enrolls more than 160,000 students and has an operating budget of $6.43 billion.

Yudof currently earns $350,000 a year. As Chancellor, he would receive approximately $500,000 annually. But Regent Vice Chairman Robert Bergland stressed that Yudof’s interest is not financially motivated.

“Yudof has said repeatedly ‘It’s not about money’,” Bergland said.

University officials said despite Yudof’s indecision, they are taking the possibility very seriously.

“Texas is coming after him hard,” Regent Chairwoman Maureen Reed said. “They are pulling out all of the stops.”

University officials said they intend to put up a fight to keep Yudof from exiting.

Reed said University officials, community members and close friends have been contacting Yudof to encourage him to stay.

“We’re letting him know the value he brought to University of Minnesota and that his work is not done,” Reed said.

Yudof said he feels a sense of accomplishment about his five years as University president.

“I really have a good job and we really have tremendous momentum at the University,” Yudof said. “I’m very happy where I am.”