nearly 19 years of helping the University of North Texas navigate
its way to increasingly impressive goals and destinations, Chancellor
Alfred F. Hurley is now chief executive officer of the UNT System.
As full-time chancellor, he is concentrating all of his efforts
on advancing the system and its three campuses.
new duties involve building external relationships while overseeing
each campus. In addition, he has begun to focus on regional, state
and national issues that affect the UNT System.
his state-level duties, Hurley explains that legislative committees
seem to want to deal directly with system chancellors as a group
instead of working individually with presidents at every public
university and health science center.
and his wife, Joanna, also are preparing for leading roles in an
upcoming capital campaign.
respect for Hurley’s leadership at UNT, the partnerships he has
forged throughout North Texas and the high regard he has earned
from Texas legislators make it difficult for some to believe that
presiding at UNT is his second career.
in the U.S. Air Force in 1950 as a private. He aspired to become
a pilot, but the Air Force judged him better suited for navigation
and trained him accordingly. Hurley agreed. He admits, “After a
‘close call,’ my pilot training instructor said trying to teach
me to fly had made him more religious.”
same, Hurley’s Air Force career lasted 30 years, ending with his
promotion to brigadier general and retirement in 1980. He was a
member of the U.S. Air Force Academy history faculty from the late
’50s to 1980.
Hurley honed in the Air Force — as navigator, planner, administrator
and educator — served him well during the years he operated in the
dual role of UNT president and chancellor.
not only got UNT off the ground, but he also set the course for
it to soar,” says Bill Hunt (’60, ’64 M.B.A.), national chair of
the upcoming UNT capital campaign and chair of the board of Internet
America Inc., Digital Convergence.com Inc. and Intellicall Inc.
UNT as vice president for administrative affairs on Sept. 1, 1980.
Less than 17 months after his arrival, in February 1982, he became
UNT’s 12th president and the second chancellor of the informal UNT
a modest man, Hurley always shares the credit for UNT’s progress
during his presidency. He salutes farsighted regents; friendly Texas
legislators and state officials; supportive community and business
leaders; active alumni and friends; the talented faculty; a stable
and dedicated administration and staff; and earnest and intelligent
students. And he always acknowledges the role of his wife, Joanna.
members of every UNT constituency credit Hurley and his aptitude
as a major factor in UNT’s rise to educational leadership in the
North Texas region.
In a September
editorial, the Dallas Morning News spotlighted Hurley as “the unsung
hero of higher education” and cited the “pivotal” role he has played
for the North Texas region. “While other universities in this area
have struggled at times to establish their roles, the University
of North Texas has charged full speed ahead,” it states.
Royce West developed a special admiration for Hurley when the two
became major partners in the effort to bring a public university
to the southern Dallas area, the future University of North Texas
was the first educational administrator with whom I developed more
political relationship. Now, I consider him a good friend,” he reveals.
and I believe the future of Texas is in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
We’ve worked together to establish a new public university infrastructure
to address future needs,” West says.
UNT’s top job longer than any other president in the school’s history.
Now at age 72, he is managing the UNT System, still setting ambitious
courses and looking forward, enthusiastically, to extending his
tenure as one of Texas’ longest-serving and most effective public
higher education chief executives.
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