The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (Coordinating Board) today voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Harrison Keller to serve as the next commissioner of higher education. Dr. Keller will assume his new post on Oct. 1.
“The Search Committee recommended him to the board after a national search, because he stood out from a competitive field of candidates for his extensive knowledge of and experience in strengthening higher education and broadening opportunity for all Texans,” said Board Chair Stuart W. Stedman. “We believe that Harrison Keller will be able to assist the Coordinating Board in making great strides toward the fulfillment of our mission and our continued work toward achieving the goals of 60x30TX.”
“I am pleased that the Coordinating Board has selected Harrison Keller,” commented Gov. Greg Abbott. “With his strong higher education background, we look forward to his leadership and his support in developing and working toward important initiatives to advance postsecondary education and workforce readiness for our citizens.”
Dr. Keller comes to the Coordinating Board from The University of Texas at Austin, where he has been serving President Gregory Fenves as deputy to the president for strategy and policy. Previously he served as vice provost for higher education policy and research and founded the OnRamps and Texas OnCourse initiatives. Earlier in his career he served as senior education policy advisor and director of research for Rep. Tom Craddick during his tenure as Speaker of the Texas House, and as a project director at UT Austin’s Charles A. Dana Center.
Dr. Keller received his B.A. with honors from the University of Notre Dame, and went on to receive master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy from Georgetown University. He also served in the U.S. Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer.
He will be the sixth individual to hold the leadership position for the agency since its founding under Gov. John Connally in 1965, succeeding Dr. Raymund Paredes, who is stepping down after serving as commissioner for 15 years.
“As a sixth-generation Texan, a son of public school educators, and someone who has spent my career working at the intersections of educational policy, practice and innovation, I believe that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve our state. I look forward to working with the Coordinating Board, the Governor’s office, and legislative, business, community, and education leaders across the state to expand educational and economic opportunities for Texas,” said Dr. Keller.
A native of the Texas Panhandle, Keller resides in Austin with his wife Gena and their three children.