Dr. Austin Lane named sole finalist for president
Dr. Austin A. Lane has been named the sole finalist to become the 12th president of Texas Southern University (TSU) by its Board of Regents. Lane plans to assume leadership of Texas Southern on or about June 7, 2016, after a Board vote. He replaces Dr. John M. Rudley, who has served as president since 2008.
Derrick Mitchell, chair of Texas Southern’s Board of Regents, said that Lane “embodies the skills necessary to position the University as a destination institution for those seeking an innovative learning process through a stellar curriculum.”
“The Board of Regents engaged in a dedicated and thorough search of outstanding candidates and Dr. Lane was clearly the right man at the perfect time in Texas Southern’s existence,” Mitchell said. “We look forward to receiving the benefit of his strong and progressive leadership to move TSU to the next level in higher education.”
Dr. Lane said, “I want to extend thanks to Regent Mitchell and the entire board for giving me the opportunity to serve Texas Southern University. I believe that we are positioned to take TSU to new heights.”
Dr. Lane said recruitment and enrollment are among his top priorities. He shared a 30-, 60- and 90-day plan with the board that addressed a detailed enrollment strategy. Dr. Lane also celebrated his 45th birthday on the day he was named to the top job at Texas Southern University.
Dr. Lane was managing seven campuses in the Lone Star system, with the smallest location educating 10,000 students. His plan for TSU includes strengthening student recruitment and enrollment, and focusing on retaining students through a four-year graduation plan. Another major priority is keeping TSU strong and independent, and maintaining its stature as a premier HBCU. Dr. Lane plans to maintain his passion for student academic productivity and growth, and wants to produce graduates who will be prepared for the global workplace at the point of graduation.
Lane will bring a strong academic and personal HBCU experience to his presidency at Texas Southern, including an undergraduate degree from Langston University, the only HBCU in Oklahoma. His father- and late mother-in-law both attended Texas Southern. Larry Williams, Lane’s father-in-law, was a TSU student alongside Mickey Leland, the esteemed late Texas congressman. Williams served as best man in Leland’s wedding.
Lane and his wife, Loren, have three children, ages 19, 15 and 9. They are members of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston.
Dr. Lane was appointed Executive Vice Chancellor of Lone Star College in January 2015. He was the lead administrator for Academic Affairs, Student Services, Workforce Education, Corporate College, Honors College, International Programs, Strategic Planning and Assessment, and University Centers in The Woodlands and University Park, among a host of responsibilities. He served as the third president of Lone Star College-Montgomery for six years, leading an institution that experienced the fastest growth in Texas and the nation.
A native of New Jersey, Dr. Lane graduated from Hackensack High School and attended Odessa Junior College in West Texas on a basketball scholarship. He holds a B.A. in psychology from Langston University, M.A. in human relations from The University of Oklahoma, and Ed.D. in higher education administration from The University of Alabama.
Dr. Lane has been lauded as an innovator and visionary leader, and his career in higher education is marked by a variety of successive leadership roles and professional achievements. Before joining Lone Star College-Montgomery, Dr. Lane served as vice president for student affairs at Tyler Junior College and was responsible for directing a college-wide strategic enrollment management team that posted the largest enrollment in the school's history. He developed strategies to enhance the academic and student service reputation of the college. Prior to joining Tyler, he served as the dean of students at The University of Texas at Arlington and was instrumental in planning and overseeing several student success initiatives that were designed to increase enrollment and retention.
Dr. Lane was an adjunct professor in the higher education program at Sam Houston State University and served on the Masters in Higher Education advisory board for the College of Education at SHSU and doctoral advisory board for Southern Methodist University’s College of Education. He was as an adjunct professor in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Arlington, in the Behavioral and Social Sciences department at Tarrant County College-Southeast Campus and in the higher education program at Sam Houston State University. He served as an on-site reviewer for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). He has conducted extensive research on traditional-age, low-income, African-American and Hispanic students in Texas that focuses on access to higher education, affordability, need-based vs. merit-based aid, college persistence, and student success.
His community work includes serving on the Amegy Bank Advisory Board, Montgomery County Women’s Center Board of Directors, Rotary Club of The Woodlands and the Texas Diversity Council Board of Directors. He has previously served on the Montgomery County United Way Board as Campaign Chair 2011-12, The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Conroe/Lake Conroe Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Conroe Economic Development Council, and Education for Tomorrow Alliance Board of Directors. He has been recognized as recipient of the 2015 Drum Major Award, 2014 Interfaith of The Woodlands Hometown Hero Honoree, and 2012 Pacesetter of the Year for the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations.
The board named Dr. Rudley as president emeritus and said he will serve as an adviser as long as Dr. Lane agrees.