The University of North Texas System Board of Regents has selected Lesa Roe, Acting Deputy Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), as its new Chancellor. Ms. Roe's formal selection was approved by the board on Sept. 8.
"Lesa Roe is a change agent and that's what excites me about her arrival to the UNT System – she led incredible, high-impact programs at NASA including the International Space Station and the Mars rover landing," said UNT System Board Chair G. Brint Ryan. "As we got to know Lesa through the search process, she really checked all the boxes as far as skills and experience. We are eager to get to work with her as we continue to build the UNT System."
The Chancellor is the chief executive officer of the UNT System and is responsible for all aspects of the System's operations, including general oversight of 10,000+ employees and the three UNTS campuses – UNT in Denton, UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth and UNT Dallas – as well as the UNT System administration. As sole finalist, Ms. Roe is set to replace Lee F. Jackson in early October, becoming the UNT System's third Chancellor and the first-ever woman to lead UNTS.
In her current position with NASA, Ms. Roe partners with the Chief Operating Officer to lead strategy, execution and operations nationally across all NASA field centers for a $19.6 billion annual federal agency and $31 billion in assets. Her leadership has led to numerous breakthrough science, space and aeronautics innovations and missions advancing our nation's leadership and international knowledge of aeronautics and space. Ms. Roe provides cross-functional corporate management and directs 10 field center installation managers, five primary product line managers, CIO, CFO and general oversight of 17,000 employees. In addition, she directs program and project teams on product/mission delivery, acquisition strategy, partnership and international strategy and risk management.
"I am thankful for the UNT System Board of Regents' confidence and trust in my leadership abilities and I am excited to get to work next month," Ms. Roe said. "I have a passion for working with students, a passion for leading teams, a passion for research and a passion for making a difference. The opportunity to engage in those passions is prevalent throughout the UNT System. Combine those aspects of the job with the location – North Texas is arguably the fastest-growing economy and job market in the country – and the possibilities are infinite."
Ms. Roe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Central Florida. She has served on numerous boards and advisory councils including: the Virginia Governor's Aerospace Advisory Council, American Astronautical Society, Virginia FIRST Robotics and the Virginia Research and Technology Advisory Commission. Her many honors include: 2017 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics AIAA Fellow, the 2015 Senior Executive Service Presidential Distinguished Rank Award and the 2006 Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award; NASA Exceptional Service Medal; University of Florida's Distinguished Career Achievement and Outstanding Leadership in Engineering Awards; the 2010 Women in Aerospace Leadership Award; the 2010 YWCA Women of Distinction in Science and Technology; and the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2012 Bridge Builder Award. Ms. Roe and her husband, Ralph, NASA's chief engineer, have two sons and a daughter.
Chancellor Jackson, the state's longest-serving Chancellor, will remain in his position until Ms. Roe takes office and will continue to serve the UNT System until the end of 2017. The search and selection process for the UNT System Chancellor position was conducted by Mike JR Wheless and Scott Watson of Wheless Partners Executive Search.
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS SYSTEM
The University of North Texas System includes the University of North Texas in Denton, the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth and the University of North Texas at Dallas. The UNT System Administration is based in Downtown Dallas, with employees also in Denton and Fort Worth. UNTS is governed by a Board of Regents appointed by the Governor of Texas and is the only Texas public university system headquartered in the vibrant North Texas region. The three independent universities of the UNT System have combined enrollment of over 43,000 students across five major teaching locations, including each main campus, as well as Frisco and Downtown Dallas. UNTS institutions award more than 9,000 degrees each year – including the largest number of master’s and doctoral degrees in the region. Overall, the UNT System boosts the Texas economy by $5.2 billion each year.
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