I regret to announce that Mr. William C. Hearn '63 - an individual who I hold in the highest regard for his outstanding leadership and commitment to excellence - will step down from his role as acting vice president and chief executive officer at our Galveston campus to deal with urgent family medical issues. His resignation is effective Nov. 1st.
As you may recall, Mr. Hearn's return to the Galveston campus last year marked the third time that he graciously agreed to serve in the top post. The long-time administrator officially retired in January 2008, but returned to campus following Hurricane Ike to help the Texas Maritime Academy during a transitional period. After helping to successfully manage that important effort, Mr. Hearn retired once again in February 2009. Last November, I asked him, and he graciously agreed, to come out of retirement to serve in his present role as acting vice president and chief executive officer, an interim role he has held two times previously.
Please join me in wishing Mr. Hearn and his family well and thanking him for decades of exemplary service to our university. I am confident that I speak for all of us in saying that Mr. Hearn's legacy of selfless service and commitment to excellence will remain in the hearts and minds of all Sea Aggies.
In the meantime, Dr. William Merrell, a well-respected longtime faculty member and administrator has agreed to serve as interim vice president and CEO while the search continues to find the best person to assume this role on a permanent basis. Dr. Merrell holds the George P. Mitchell '40 Chair in Marine Sciences. He also previously served at the helm of the Galveston campus.
Dr. Merrell has held over the years increasingly responsible positions, including president of the H. John Heinz III Center of Science, Economics and the Environment. He also served as Vice Chancellor for Strategic Programs at The Texas A&M University System, Vice President for Research Policy at Texas A&M and Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation. He has received numerous awards and accolades, including the Distinguished Member Award for Research Achievement from the Texas A&M Chapter of Sigma XI, the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Geosciences of Earth Resources Council and the Distinguished Service Award of the National Science Foundation for "his lasting impact on the course of American science."
Please join me in wishing Dr. Merrell great success in his new role as interim vice president and CEO at Galveston. I am confident he will effectively lead the daily operations during this time of transition.
Dr. R. Bowen Loftin '71