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West Texas A&M President Pat O’Brien has been chosen as the new chair of the Division II Presidents Council.
O’Brien, a member of the Council since 2010, will succeed Molloy President Drew Bogner, who has chaired the Council for the last two years.
In addition to the O’Brien’s election as chair, the Council also chose four new members. All were elected to four-year terms that will begin in April 2012.
During his time on the Council, O’Brien has played a lead role in planning. In particular, he chaired the Long-Range Projections Task Force, which developed an extended budget plan for Division II in the wake of the NCAA’s 2010 media rights agreement with Turner Broadcasting and CBS. In addition to his NCAA service, O’Brien also has chaired the Lone Star Conference Council of Presidents.
O’Brien assumed his position at West Texas A&M in 2006. He immediately initiated a review of the university’s strategic plan and oversaw an academic realignment that, among other things, created a new College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
He came to West Texas A&M from Loyola (Louisiana), where he served as dean of the college of business administration and professor of economics beginning in 1995.
O’Brien started his career in academia as an instructor at Oklahoma State before accepting positions as an assistant professor of economics at Bowling Green State (1974-77) and then at the Alaska Fairbanks.
He remained at Alaska Fairbanks until 1991, leaving his position as professor and head of the department of economics to accept a dean’s appointment with the College of Commerce and Business Administration at Jacksonville State (1991-95).
O’Brien is a member of the board of directors for the Council of Public University Presidents and Chancellors.
A native of Tennessee, O’Brien earned baccalaureate (economics) and master’s (agricultural economics) degrees from Auburn in 1967 and 1969, respectively. He received his Ph.D. in economics with areas of specialization in monetary economics, public finance and regional economics from Oklahoma State in 1977.
He serves on the boards of the Northwest Texas Healthcare System, Harrington Regional Medical Center, United Way-Amarillo/Canyon, the TEXAS Heritage Foundation and the Palo Duro Reclamation Foundation.