Rudley takes helm at Texas Southern
John Rudley was sworn in as the 11th president of Texas Southern University Friday at Granville Sawyer Auditorium, and said he was ready to make TSU a more competitive and successful institute.
Rudley, appointed to serve as president of the historically black university on Feb. 8, said before a crowd of TSU students, faculty, administrators and state representatives that the university must face the realities of its academic situation before it could compete globally with other institutes of higher education.
"To fully position Texas Southern University for global greatness, we must first be open to some straight talk about where we are now," said Rudley, who served as interim UH System Chancellor and Interim UH President from June 2007 to Jan. 2008.
Rudley said only four of every 10 freshman at Texas Southern continue into their sophomore year and a smaller percentage of each freshman class receives a degree.
"These alarming statistics have conjured us to reevaluate the freshman experience," Rudley said.
While the university is successful in producing scholars, researchers and entrepreneurs, Rudley said the university’s graduation and retention rates show a need to rework Texas Southern’s educational environment.
"We need to reignite the passion for academic success that initially prompted these students to pursue a college education," Rudley said. "We are short-changing ourselves as an institution if we do not set our goals as high as possible to become one of the best public urban -serving institutions of higher education in the nation."
With "The Academic Pillars," a university success initiative, Rudley hopes to create a student-centered learning community for incoming freshman, where students will have 24-hour access to library resources, computer labs and study rooms.
Rudley, who began his career at UH in 2002, served as vice chancellor for Administration and Finance for the UH System and vice president for Administration and Finance.