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Sources say Texas A&M officials split over proposed interim leaders - The Eagle: News

Sources say Texas A&M officials split over proposed interim leaders

Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013 12:00 am

The Texas A&M University System regents are scheduled to nominate an interim president for their flagship university this weekend, and the rumored candidates have divided administration, faculty and regents. More so, the split has seemingly brought the longstanding rivalry between onetime Aggie classmates Gov. Rick Perry and A&M System Chancellor John Sharp back into the public spotlight.

The frontrunners to temporarily replace outgoing A&M President R. Bowen Loftin are Guy Diedrich, the system's vice chancellor for strategic initiatives, and Mark Hussey, the system's vice chancellor and A&M's dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, according to high-ranking A&M officials, the majority of whom requested anonymity.

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  • jer2 posted at 10:29 am on Tue, Dec 17, 2013.

    jer2 Posts: 314

    Perry's friend Joe Weber was a Marine but he is pretty sleazy. Buzbee just sues people for a living and throws money at things.

  • jer2 posted at 10:28 am on Tue, Dec 17, 2013.

    jer2 Posts: 314

    I'm not sure I would choose Buzbee either, he's the fastest lawsuit filer in SE Texas and send out frivilous lawsuits against oil companies. He's a litigator, can you REALLY trust these types?

  • master of disaster posted at 11:54 am on Sun, Dec 15, 2013.

    master of disaster Posts: 541

    My sense if that Swansea is a decent university, though probably not top of the line in terms of graduating PhDs. In the UK it is common for candidates to finish their PhDs away from campus - that Dietrich did so does not mean he got it via some online program.

    I think Dietrich is a twink, but not because of his credentials.

  • adnerdette posted at 5:52 pm on Fri, Dec 13, 2013.

    adnerdette Posts: 8

    Something is fishy. This states he is a PhD candidate at Cambridge, not Swansea:

    Where he is 'researching the economic value of trust in organizations'.

  • master of disaster posted at 6:24 am on Fri, Dec 13, 2013.

    master of disaster Posts: 541

    Figures Jowly McGoodhair would try one more time to get all up in TAMU's business before stepping down.

  • the real slim shady posted at 8:55 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    the real slim shady Posts: 399

    How about "C", none of the above?

  • the real slim shady posted at 8:54 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    the real slim shady Posts: 399

    Amen, brother.

  • the real slim shady posted at 8:52 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    the real slim shady Posts: 399

    Hussey may have strength but he doesn't have a brain.

  • adnerdette posted at 7:03 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    adnerdette Posts: 8

    Looks like a mail-order degree factory, write a paper, pay tuition and get a PHD. No classes, no field, no nothing:

    Sounds like the no show classes as UNC-Chapel Hill:

  • adnerdette posted at 6:55 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    adnerdette Posts: 8

    Maybe he didn't! One of most common 'exaggerations':

  • PassItBackAgs posted at 4:22 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    PassItBackAgs Posts: 2

    Agreed...Buzbee is a Marine, he will keep the Regents honest!

  • Sabio posted at 4:19 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    Sabio Posts: 1736

    Finally....seeing the light! :)

    Very few Presidents have been powerful voices for change and excellence. Maybe said another way, very few Presidents have been EFFECTIVE voices for change and excellence. Take the last 50 years at ANY public university, and you'll be lucky to find a single President with that kind of impact. Take here for example. Has any A&M President even come CLOSE to the voice for change and excellence offered by Pres. Rudder?

    Gates is the only one to come close, and you can't even mention the two in the paragraph, let alone the same breath.

  • KC3 posted at 4:01 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    KC3 Posts: 1

    Seems there are two factions developing on the Board of Regents: one lead by Tony Buzbee, the other lead by Cliff Thomas. In that fight, I choose Buzbee.

  • adnerdette posted at 3:47 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    adnerdette Posts: 8

    Impatience for unproductive people? Couldn't be more wrong. Also surrounds himself with people that have no clue what they are talking about. Bad choice.

  • seasoned posted at 3:26 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    seasoned Posts: 18

    Swansea is a 5th tier institution in the UK, seldom ranked in the top 50 in the UK. In the US, it would be comparable to Texas A38M Kingsville. Let me summarize: absence of academic experience, PhD from a 5th rate academic institution, and the total absence of executive experience in a large organization ... however, good state political connections and lobbying experience. Precisely the caliber of academic preparation for our next President that we deserve, if we lay down and let this happen. The impact on our reputation and our ability to attract first rate talent would be devastating. This is not what we need, it would be another demonstration that politics trumps excellence at Texas A&M. All who love this university need to speak with one voice: Hail No!

  • andy76 posted at 3:07 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    andy76 Posts: 1

    Buzbee strikes me as a guy who respects the process and isn’t into backing a candidate due to politics, he will do what is best for the school.

  • TexasEagle posted at 2:48 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    TexasEagle Posts: 139

    Any nomination from the Chancellor is also political. This is all about politics...nothing more, nothing less.

  • localaggie posted at 2:04 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    localaggie Posts: 17

    I read that he was enrolled in a PhD program at Cambridge University! What is Swansea U.????

    Can anyone officially confirmed that he has a real PhD? Or that he has actually FINISHED the PhD???

  • Aggie posted at 12:55 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    Aggie Posts: 6

    According to, Guy Diedrich obtained his PhD in two years from Swansea University, while at the SAME TIME he was Vice Chancellor for Federal and State Relations at TAMU. There is NO WAY he can do both at the same time, much less do them both well. The guy is a fraud....

  • Aggie12 posted at 12:32 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    Aggie12 Posts: 4

    Give the man some credit, you don't get as far as he has in life and in business by blindly following others. I'm sure he has good reason for not wanting to rush the decision. Also, has it occured to you that as an Aggie he may be generally interested in the future of the university and its leadership?

  • obasfirst posted at 12:06 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    obasfirst Posts: 668

    I think dolling out $850K shows plenty "respect"

    Why is it a lack of respect to name a successor for Loftin before he actually steps down? It wouldn't make sense to do it after he already left.

    Quoting Buzbee "You shouldn't announce something to the press without us first talking about it publicly"
    The meeting will be held behind closed doors.

  • obasfirst posted at 11:55 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    obasfirst Posts: 668

    You pretend to know a lot of senior professors and administrators at A&M.
    Do they know you too?

    I'm surprised you still had to write a letter to Sharp to "inform" him about the disgruntled faculty posting comments instead of picking up the phone and dialing his private number. How's that letter going btw?

  • ag_reality posted at 11:45 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    ag_reality Posts: 18

    If Perry intervenes again and gets his way with Diedrich, mark my words the best and brightest faculty will begin to leave...and soon they will be leaving in droves. Rick Perry knows nothing about higher education and has no business turning this into a political circus.

    A lobbyist with administrative experience in the private sector?? Are you kidding me? They are considering nominating this guy for interim president? If that's true, then it's worse than I thought.

    Dr. Hussey has the background, experience, understanding, and credentials to step into the interim president position and lead the university. Perry needs to keep his filthy hands off this great university.

  • localaggie posted at 11:44 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    localaggie Posts: 17

    I know, I know, sorry . . . I couldn't find an "edit' button!

  • FromAfar posted at 11:40 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    FromAfar Posts: 485

    Amen, Annie. Many of us faculty are working in various venues to keep the A&M ship from sinking. Don't lose hope.

  • elf posted at 11:39 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    elf Posts: 1594

    To Sabio:
    I agree with you. Mark Hussey would make an excellent choice for President. So would Nancy Dickey (if we could get her). Both support teaching and research excellence. There are two or three department chairmen that also have shown superb administrative ability and ethical merit. Anyone is better than a former Perry campaign person, a Perry Republican or Sharp.

  • FromAfar posted at 11:38 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    FromAfar Posts: 485

    Normally the ECDP works behind the scene and has successfully helped to avert impending catastrophes. Don Russell, chair of the ECDP, going public is an extraordinary step that shows how important this issue is. It is very important that even an interim president have solid academic credentials. While Diedrich seems to be a talented individual, he simply does not have the credentials and background to lead TAMU.

  • FromAfar posted at 11:30 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    FromAfar Posts: 485

    If Diedrich cares about A&M, he should tell the regents that he is not a candidate for interim president.

  • imjustsayin posted at 11:26 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    imjustsayin Posts: 75

    "The nine regents, who typically don't publicly discuss university issues -- much less get divided by them -- are split right down the middle on how to move forward, sources said."

    Please explain to me how 9 regents are spliot down the middle.

  • TexasEagle posted at 11:05 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    TexasEagle Posts: 139

    He certainly had no patience with you.

  • TexasEagle posted at 11:05 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    TexasEagle Posts: 139

    If you think presidents have that little say over what happens at the university, why have one. Presidents can be powerful voices for change and excellence, if we let them. If we believed your view, we would just let the faculty teach, research, etc. and have no administrators! Opps, maybe you are onto something.

  • xtaticAG posted at 10:57 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    xtaticAG Posts: 2

    Doctor Hussey has the integrity, strength and character to be a stellar interim President. His is not a political nominee and thereby all the more qualified than Perry's candidate.Leadership @ this level should require a non-partisan, level headed approach for the finest University in the South! Hasn't Perry already had a far to damaging effect on the Great Sate of Texas?

  • TexasEagle posted at 9:51 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    TexasEagle Posts: 139

    Buzbee's stance is nothing more than a delaying tactic designed to let Perry's people pressure the board to his side. The Regents under normal circumstances should take the Chancellor's recommendation and vote on it. They know both candidates well enough and don't need to interview them. Oh, but wait a minute the intent here is to bypass the search committe and appoint an interim who eventually be president...guess the Regents do need to be involved. Wonder if Perry will sit in on the interviews?

  • lmccall posted at 9:23 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    lmccall Posts: 1

    The only one who seems to have the right idea here is Tony Buzbee, how can the regents be expected to appoint someone without weighing all the options and really discussing each candidates qualifications? If I know Tony, he'll stick to his guns to make sure no rash decisions are made.

  • Aggie12 posted at 8:55 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    Aggie12 Posts: 4

    I completely agree with Buzbee, Loftin hasn't even left yet let's show the guy some respect!

  • Sabio posted at 8:53 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    Sabio Posts: 1736

    Always good to hear from Chicken Little.

    A&M is FAR bigger, and greater, than any President, any Chancellor, or any BOR.

    Relax, the world of flagship universities in Texas is not ending.

  • TexasEagle posted at 8:31 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    TexasEagle Posts: 139

    Whomever is Interim will be controlled from above...that is the clear message. Being interim with a split BOR and either Perry/Sharp upset also bodes ill for the university. Why would anyone want to be president under these circumstances...the search process is compromised, probably always has been. If Texas votes to get ride of their President today, the flagship universities will clearly be sending signals to the rest of the country about their future, and give plenty of reasons why people wouldn't want to work or study here. Just saying.

  • Annie posted at 7:52 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    Annie Posts: 8

    I was not an academic myself, but I worked in academia for 30 years with some of the finest teachers and administrators A&M has had the opportunity to have. Their first priority was always to give students a superior education. They knew what it took to have first rate academic credentials (good teachers, productive and innovative researchers) and that having first rate academics was what gave A&M respect and credibility both nation and world wide. Higher education is about just that - education. It's not about contracts and making money and it's certainly not about controlling people's minds as our governor wants to do. I am so sad at what has happened to Texas A&M where I spent the best years of my life.

  • Sabio posted at 7:28 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    Sabio Posts: 1736

    I dunno...does we?

  • Sabio posted at 7:28 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    Sabio Posts: 1736

    Love Tony Buzbee, period.

    Don't know Guy Diedrich, but I know Mark Hussey. I'd have no problem supporting Dr. Hussey as Interim. He "gets it".

    He doesn't have patience for unproductive people.

  • ftw posted at 7:11 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    ftw Posts: 1265

    Bringing in someone with no existing ties to a particular college or department makes more sense. Someone in the system has a lot of preexisting opinions and prejudices that unduly shape of affect their decision making. Having a fresh perspective with no existing ties will likely do more to move the university forward and promote a progressive atmosphere for everyone.

    Or are they setting up another Elsa Murano situation where the interim either becomes president, and then is forced out, or is simply a place holder for a future candidate?

  • localaggie posted at 6:29 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    localaggie Posts: 17

    Does we really want Dietrich, a non-academic, failed deal maker (behind many of the failed business ventures that have plagued us over the last few years) to LEAD the great Texas A&M University? No teaching experience, no research experience, just business. Bad business, bad choice, bad direction.

    Dean Hussey makes a lot more sense.

  • Andy Pate posted at 5:47 am on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    Andy Pate Posts: 10

    It would likely be a healthy move for A&M to look outside its political and alumni connections for a new president. Allowing the political connections to dictate that choice could damage the university's academic standing, internally and in academe as a whole. Why is Perry so involved? And is there really a division here between him and Sharp? It smacks of cronyism either way.