Following a nationwide search, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents today named Dr. James Hurley as sole finalist for Tarleton State University’s 16th president.
Hurley comes to Tarleton from Tusculum University in Greeneville, Tennessee, where he has served as president since 2017. Tusculum is the oldest university in the state, celebrating 225 years of education.
Hurley begins his duties as president Sept. 1. As required by law, the board may take final action on the hiring after the 21-day notice is given.
“We had several excellent candidates, but at the end of the day Dr. Hurley stood head and shoulders above the rest,” said Elaine Mendoza, chair of the A&M System Board of Regents. “We are extremely confident in his ability and excited by his enthusiasm to become part of Tarleton’s rich legacy.”
Throughout his 23 years in education, Hurley has served as instructor, professor, dean, vice president and president, with extensive experience at private, liberal arts and faith-based institutions. Under his leadership at Tusculum, the school converted from college to university status and added the College of Health Sciences, the Niswonger College of Optometry, and the College of Science, Technology and Math.
Prior to Tusculum, he was executive vice president, dean of the School of Business, and professor of leadership and education at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.
“Dr. Hurley possesses the executive leadership and innovative spirit needed to continue Tarleton’s trajectory as the premier student-focused university in Texas and beyond,” said A&M System Regent Bill Mahomes, who chaired the search committee. “His outstanding track record has led to enrollment growth, faculty excellence, new degree programs and financial stability in the institutions he has served. I am confident he will continue John Tarleton’s dream of providing accessible, affordable higher education. His demonstrated ability to connect with students, faculty, staff and the community is invaluable to Tarleton’s mission.”
As Tarleton’s chief executive officer, Hurley will supervise 1,400 employees, manage a $185 million annual budget and provide vision for a comprehensive curriculum to serve more than 13,000 students at Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, The RELLIS Academic Alliance in Bryan and online.
“I would like to thank the Board of Regents and Chancellor John Sharp for naming me sole finalist for the position of president at Tarleton State University,” Hurley said. “I am honored and humbled to be joining an incredible institution with an outstanding legacy of academic excellence and a steeped tradition of student success. Kindall and I enthusiastically look forward to meeting with students, faculty, staff and community members during the next step of the process. Tarleton State University has a bright future and we cannot wait to join Texan Nation!”
Hurley is a first-generation college student. He holds a doctorate in educational leadership and finance from Morehead State University, a master’s degree in education from Indiana University, and a bachelor’s degree in business education and management from the University of Pikeville in Pikeville, Ky., where he served as president from 2013 to 2015.
He completed the Institute for Presidential Leadership at Harvard University and received a certificate of higher education management from Vanderbilt University and a Rank 1 Certification in educational supervision from the University of Kentucky.
He and his wife, Kindall, are proud parents of sons, Drew and Carter, and daughters Blayklee and Brooklyn.
He replaces Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio, who is stepping down Aug. 31 after 11 years of service.
Following a short sabbatical, Dottavio will be a faculty member in Tarleton’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, where he has had an appointment as a tenured professor since coming to the university. He also will assist the Division of Institutional Advancement.