17th President of Texas Tech University
Since Dr. Lawrence Schovanec was named president in 2016, Texas Tech University has seen record levels of enrollment, student retention, graduation rates, degrees awarded and research expenditures, as well as pivotal accomplishments reflecting the university's commitment to research and outreach to communities and industry. In spite of the challenges presented by COVID-19, Texas Tech experienced a four percent growth in enrollment in fall 2020 and for the first time enrolled more than 40,000 students.
A historic benchmark in Texas Tech's history and in veterinary care in the state of Texas was achieved in May 2019, when the Texas Legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott approved the establishment of the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine, the state's first in more than a century. The School of Veterinary Medicine received a letter of reasonable assurance of accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association in September 2020, which allowed the program to begin accepting student applications for the inaugural class in August 2021.
Texas Tech is one of 16 institutions in the Carnegie Very High Research Activity classification that is also designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution. The university was one of four institutions in the nation to be named as a recipient of the 2018 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award, which qualified Texas Tech as a finalist for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, presented annually by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. The university was also recognized by NAFSA as a recipient of the 2018 Sen. Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization.
Schovanec, who received his doctorate in mathematics from Indiana University, has emphasized student success and scholarship support. Since being appointed president, Texas Tech has increased annual awards for merit- and need-based scholarships by more than $30 million. These investments have contributed to record freshman classes and record numbers of National Merit Finalists, Presidential Scholars and first-generation students. In support of Texas Tech's commitment to both its educational and research missions, Schovanec has established 50 Presidential Teaching and Research Excellence Professorships.
Texas Tech continues to increase and improve its infrastructure during Schovanec's tenure. Since his appointment Texas Tech has dedicated or started construction of new facilities that represent an investment of more than $300 million. This includes a new Honors Residence Hall, Experimental Sciences Building, and major renovation of the university theatre. Texas Tech has also established Texas Tech University at Costa Rica (TTU-CR), an endeavor that was finalized shortly after Schovanec assumed the role of president. The TTU-CR campus hosted its first class in fall 2018.
President Schovanec serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Texas International Educational Consortium, Vice Chair of the Texas Council of Public University Presidents and Chancellors, Vice Chair of the Big 12 Board of Directors, and is a member of the NAFSA Board of Directors.