BELTON—Trustees at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor unanimously elected Randy O’Rear the university’s 19th president and chief executive officer, effective June 1, 2009.
O’Rear—the school’s executive vice president and chief operating officer—will succeed Jerry Bawcom, who will step down as president at the end of the academic school year to become chancellor.
“Our deliberations led us to one clear conclusion. We had the right candidate already here at UMHB, one who has a proven track record in higher education leadership,” Trustee Chairman Andy Davis said.
O’Rear’s track record in providing oversight of daily campus operations impressed the board, Davis noted.
“We are extremely confident that as president, Dr. O’Rear will assure the continuity of our mission, our Christian principles and our proficiency in higher education. Because of his long service and intricate knowledge of UMHB, he will hold constant those things we value while assuring the university remains responsive to each new generation and continues to evolve in our ongoing quest for higher excellence.”
O’Rear, 43, will be the first UMHB alumnus to serve as the school’s president.
He graduated from UMHB with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1988 and a master of business administration degree in 1997. O’Rear earned a doctoral degree in higher education administration from Baylor University in 2004.
“I am humbled by the confidence the board of trustees has placed in me, and I am grateful to be succeeding Dr. Bawcom, a fine leader who has guided UMHB to such a high degree of excellence,” O’Rear said.
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O’Rear has served 20 years at UMHB, including the past three and one half years as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Other positions he has held include assistant baseball coach, associate director of advancement, director of development, associate vice president for enrollment management and vice president for external relations.
“UMHB’s greatest strength is its people,” O’Rear said. “Our faculty and staff have a deep commitment to our mission, and I will be honored to serve them in the role of president. I will draw on their intelligence and wisdom as we move forward. Providing students with exceptional academic programs will always be our primary focus.”
President Bawcom praised the board’s decision.
“Dr. Randy O’Rear is an excellent choice by the board of trustees to become the next president of UMHB,” Bawcom said. “He is a man of integrity with tremendous experience; he is energetic and will lead with a team-centered, inclusive approach.”
Originally from Waco, O’Rear is a graduate of Robinson High School. He and his wife, Julie, have three children, Ryan, Taylor and Reed. They currently live in Salado and are members of First Baptist Church, Belton, where O’Rear serves as deacon.