The University will turn over a new leaf this fall when Jay Gogue steps up to become UH system chancellor and university president, beginning next week.
Gogue comes to UH from New Mexico State University where he served as president for three years.
People who worked with him at NMSU say faculty, students and staff can expect to find an open leader, known for his friendliness and ability to enchant those he meets.
“Gogue is very hands on with the legislators and is well respected in Santa Fe,” said Laura Conniff, NMSU board of regents president.
Gogue said he plans to work closely with the Texas Legislature to strengthen educational funding for UH, but that won't be until 2005 when the legislature reconvenes for regular business.
“I will devote the time that is necessary to this high priority responsibility of the position,” Gogue said.
Most people commenting about Gogue say his talents were his people skills, and weren't surprised that he promised to “hit the ground listening.”
While at NMSU, Gogue often entertained students and administrators at his home, Conniff said. He also produced a presidential newsletter to keep in communication with the faculty and staff, said NMSU interim president and provost William Flores.
“Dr. Gogue has tremendous leadership and visionary skills,” Flores said. “He is a very good delegator by giving leadership through point of direction and working well with executive officers.”
Gogue will be listening to the University community over the next few weeks in an effort to determine what UH priorities call for immediate attention.
“I will listen to people, and in time we will collectively decide on the direction for the university,” Gogue said.
Before he went to NMSU, Gogue worked at Clemson University in South Carolina where he was vice president for research and also vice president and vice provost for agriculture and natural resources.
After receiving his bachelor's and master's degree in horticulture from Auburn University, Gogue, 52, received a doctorate in horticulture from Michigan State University.
The university has contracted Gogue for three years, the maximum length allowed by Texas law, at an annual base rate salary of $387,500 per year, which may be re-evaluated and adjusted at the board's discretion.
His duties include being the public face of the University, raising funds and because of the dual role he plays, balancing the needs of UH with the needs of the entire System.
“I think he's starting the right way, meeting with a lot of people, listening to what they have to say,” outgoing UH President Arthur K. Smith said. Smith has known Gogue for 15 years, and even provided him with a reference when he applied for the NMSU job.
“There is a learning curve that any new president coming into a new institution has to go through,” said Smith said.
Gogue will begin dealing with that learning curve next week when Smith officially retires Monday.
“UH is a great university in a wonderfully diverse community,” Gogue said. “UH has had a dramatic impact on the lives of people and I am excited to have the opportunity to build on this tremendous legacy.”
— With additional reporting by Ray Hafner, news editor.
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