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Friday, May 29, 2020

Faculty & Staff

Hobby School founding dean Kirk Watson introduced at Board of Regents meeting


Former state lawmaker Kirk Watson announced his resignation from the Texas Senate in February to become the Hobby School of Public Affairs' founding dean. | Courtesy of University of Houston

Former state lawmaker Kirk Watson announced his resignation from the Texas Senate in February to become the Hobby School of Public Affairs’ founding dean. | Courtesy of University of Houston

Former state lawmaker Kirk Watson was officially introduced as the Hobby School of Public Affairs’ founding dean on Thursday at the Board of Regents meeting.

Watson, who served as Austin’s mayor from 1997 to 2001 and as a Texas senator from 2006 up until last month, began his post as the Hobby School’s founding dean on May 1.

“I look forward to working with you as we envision, design and build a world class, modern public policy school to train future generations of policymakers who will govern through this new condition, and to be a resource for current generations who are wrestling with it today,” Watson said on his first day of the job.

“Its been a whirlwind since that time, it feels a little different than I expected it to feel like because we are doing it this way,” Watson said in reference to the alternative meeting format.

The 62-year-old was drawn to the job for the opportunity to shape the study of public policy at a program focused on practical skills and data-driven research in a city well suited to be a living laboratory for addressing critical issues affecting the state, Watson said in a UH press release.

“There was no way you could get me to leave the Texas Senate …  absent a very compelling chance,” he said Thursday.

How we make public policy must change, Watson said in a message.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for me,” Watson said. “I get to come in with the creativity, the ambition and the goals of not only the University of Houston, but the system itself.”

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