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Thursday, Sep 18, 2014
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Socom’s McRaven a contender for University of Texas chancellor post

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Watch out University of Texas students.

The man who planned the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, and who for the next month is the boss of all U.S. commandos, may be your next chancellor.

Adm. William McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, is one of at least two finalists to be a candidate for the chancellorship of the University of Texas System, according to the Associated Press. The other finalist, according to AP, is Richard Fisher, chairman and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The Texas media has been reporting on the issue for weeks.

U.S. Special Operations Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, declined comment on McRaven’s status with the university. Fisher, through the bank, declined comment as well.

The nine-member Texas Board of Regents is expected to announce finalists for the position Tuesday evening, said Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, executive director of public affairs for the University of Texas System.

By state law, the name of finalists to be candidates for the chancellorship are confidential, said LaCoste-Caputo.

After the finalist or finalists have been named, there is then a 21-day period before someone is appointed to the position after the board meets to confirm the appointment, she said.

In March, the university announced that Wheless Partners, a national executive search firm, was selected to assist a regents’ search committee to find a successor to current Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, who announced his resignation.

The chancellor serves as the chief administrative officer of the UT system and reports directly to the Board of Regents, the university system’s governing body, said LaCoste-Caputo.

On Aug. 28, McRaven, 58. is scheduled to turn over command of Socom to Army Gen. Joseph Votel, 56, whose nomination by President Barack Obama was confirmed by the Senate last week.

McRaven, who assumed command in August 2011, oversees an organization with global reach and a roughly $10 billion budget. The command is currently authorized about 69,000 active duty, National Guard and Reserve service members and civilians of which approximately 9,500 are deployed at any one time, according to command spokesman Ken McGraw.

As Socom commander, McRaven is charged with synchronizing the global war on terror.

The University of Texas System has a different mission. It is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, said LaCoste-Caputo, with nine academic universities, six health institutions, a fall 2013 enrollment of more than 213,000 and annual operating budget of $14.6 billion. With about 90,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state, she said.

Another difference between the two organization is pay.

The chancellorship would represent a considerable raise for McRaven.

According to the Pentagon’s most recent pay chart, a four-star admiral with 37 years of service like McRaven earns about $181,000 in basic pay. The current university chancellor earns a $750,000 salary, not including merit pay, said LaCoste-Caputo.

McRaven, a native Texan, has deep connections to the university.

In 1977, he graduated from the University of Texas-Austin, where he was a member of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor in Middle Eastern studies, according to the university. And recently, he delivered the university’s 131st commencement speech, a widely lauded pep talk that went viral on social media in large measure because of his advice to students which included making sure they make their beds every morning.

haltman@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7629

@haltman

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