The University of North Texas System Board of Regents today appointed former UNT administrator Phil C. Diebel to serve as the university’s interim president. The Board’s action followed their decision to accept Dr. Gretchen M. Bataille’s resignation as UNT’s president effective February 28, 2010.
Diebel’s appointment will take effect on March 1, 2010, and he is expected to serve in the interim capacity for only a short period of time – 90 days or more – until an academic interim leader is identified to lead the institution during the System’s national search for a new president.
UNT System Chancellor Lee Jackson said he’s grateful that Diebel, who has extensive knowledge of the university and higher education, agreed to serve UNT during this transition.
“While Phil may have ‘officially’ retired from UNT in 2007, he has continued to serve the university in an advisory capacity. His in-depth knowledge of the university and higher education will help to ensure UNT’s operations continue to run smoothly,” said Jackson. “Phil’s expertise in higher education financing will be especially helpful during these challenging economic times.”
Diebel says the university has been so much a part of his life that he wants to keep UNT moving forward and to support initiatives launched during Bataille’s tenure as president.
“I am very loyal to UNT, and I have such a high regard for the people who work there that I want to be of help,” said Diebel. “The best way for me to honor Dr. Bataille’s tenure as president is to help the university keep moving forward, even if I serve only for a short period of time.”
“UNT’s success is important to the people of Texas. I will work to ensure that university projects continue to make progress,” he said.
The System will soon begin a process of engagement intended to identify the leadership skills and administrative experience all key UNT constituents want to see in the next president.
“The needs of the university may have changed during the last five years. The insights of university stakeholders – students, faculty and staff members, alumni, Denton community members, donors and friends – are needed before the search for a new president is launched,” said Jackson. “Only then will the System name a broadly representative search committee to identify prospective candidates for the future UNT president.”
Prior to his retirement from UNT in 2007, Diebel served the university for 26 years. He joined the university in 1981 as controller. In 1983, Diebel was promoted to vice president for finance and business affairs, and in 2001 he also assumed the duties of UNT System vice chancellor for finance. During his tenure at UNT, Diebel served on several higher education committees, including those of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. He is recognized for his expertise in the state’s complex system of higher education funding.
Before joining UNT in 1983, Diebel served as the director of finance for the Texas Department of Human Resources. He earned a B.B.A. in management from the University of Texas at Austin, and his State of Texas Certified Public Accountant certification in 1980.