Moten Brown to join Yudof in new Texas post

Andrew Pritchard

Vice President and Chief of Staff Tonya Moten Brown will leave the University next month to become vice chancellor for administration in the University of Texas System – a newly created position – according to a Thursday memo from interim University President Robert Bruininks.

Moten Brown will join former University President Mark Yudof, who will become UT chancellor August 1.

“Tonya’s service to the University has been truly extraordinary,” Bruininks wrote in the memo. “… Tonya has earned the loyalty and trust of many people within and outside of the University who will miss her dearly.”

Highlights of Moten Brown’s tenure at the University included the men’s basketball academic fraud scandal and subsequent investigation of the program, as well as assessing the athletics departments’ financial difficulties, reorganizing athletics into a single department and hiring Joel Maturi to direct the program.

“… She oversaw intercollegiate athletics at one of the most difficult times in its history, and she navigated with a strong, effective leadership style and … tried to do what was best for the University at every turn,” said Karen Weaver, associate director of intercollegiate athletics.

Moten Brown will be the first black woman to hold a UT executive position.

Her duties will include representing the chancellor’s office in government committee and directing evaluation and planning for UT programs.

UT associate director of public affairs Monty Jones said the job is similar to a chief of staff position and involves coordinating chancellor’s office activities.

Moten Brown is “an outstanding candidate and has an outstanding record,” outgoing UT Chancellor Dan Burck told The Daily Texan. “She’s effective in the evaluation of system activities and has a broad skill set.”

Moten Brown will be paid $210,000 salary and receive an $8,400 car allowance, Jones said.

Bruininks is out of town until Tuesday, and his staff could not be reached for comment Friday.

Moten Brown has worked with Yudof since 1993, when he was dean of the University of Texas-Austin School of Law and hired her as
assistant dean for admissions. She moved to the University with Yudof in 1997.

Michael Warden, UT system executive director for public affairs, said Yudof preferred having a chief of staff position similar to the one he was used to at the University.

Board of Regents Chairwoman Maureen Reed said Moten Brown was “so effective and such a sterling character” that Reed was not surprised Yudof wanted her to come to the UT system.

“She is a superb administrator with countless successes to her credit,” she said.

University Provost Christine Maziar said she had “tremendous admiration for Tonya and the work that she did for the University.” She said Moten Brown often did the “behind-the-scenes heavy lifting” for University activities.

UT School of Law Dean Bill Powers, who served on that school’s admissions committee when Moten Brown was assistant dean for admissions, said Moten Brown recruited a well-qualified and diverse applicant pool.

“She was fabulous,” Powers said. “She’s an absolutely delightful person, hard-working, highly intelligent.”

He also said people who remembered Moten Brown would be excited she was coming back to the UT system.

UT law professor Michael Sharlot, who succeeded Yudof as UT law school dean, said he was not at all surprised Yudof wanted Moten Brown to come back to Texas with him.

“She’s a very bright, able, mature person with excellent judgment and very strong people skills,” he said.

Sharlot also said Moten Brown’s law school recruiting provided “very significant representation of traditionally underrepresented students.”

The new position gives Moten Brown an opportunity to work on larger-scale projects than she had previously at UT or the University, Sharlot said.

– Staff reporters Dylan Thomas and Brad Unangst, and The Daily Texan, contributed to this report.