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​Dr. Debbie Cottrell Named 16th President of Texas Lutheran University

April 22, 2019

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The Chair of the Texas Lutheran University (TLU) Board of Regents announced today that Dr. Debbie Cottrell has been named TLU’s 16th President. Dr. Cottrell has served as TLU’s Vice President of Academic Affairs since July 2012.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Cottrell will serve as TLU’s next President,” said Lewis Westerman, TLU Board of Regents Chair and senior director for the Pearl Brewery, LLC and Silver Ventures, Inc., in San Antonio. “Dr. Cottrell’s leadership in establishing new academic programs and her active engagement in growing enrollment and improving the student experience while Vice President for Academic Affairs has made a significant impact on TLU. She is a nationally recognized leader in her field.”

According to Westerman, the far-reaching presidential search that was conducted over the past few months brought focus to how TLU could be best served by its next leader. 

“The broad institutional knowledge that Dr. Cottrell brings to her new position and her clear passion for TLU make her uniquely qualified to lead as we strategically plan for the institution’s growth and success in the future,” said Westerman.

TLU President Dr. Stuart Dorsey noted Dr. Cottrell’s proven record of leading change during her seven years as chief academic officer. 

“I’m delighted with the Regents’ appointment of Dr. Cottrell as TLU’s next president,” said Dr. Dorsey. “Debbie deserves much of the credit for the transformation of our academic programs which includes launching our nursing program and our first four master’s degrees. She has won the confidence of the faculty, staff, and students with her steady, transparent, and thoughtful decision-making, and clear dedication to our residential, faith-based, liberal arts core. Debbie is well-positioned to continue to lead change that will keep TLU relevant, enhancing our resources and reputation. Her appointment will be received gratefully by her Texas and national colleagues, and she will take office with the full confidence of TLU faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Debbie and I already have begun work on what I believe will be a seamless transition, and I am confident she will ‘hit the ground running’ in July.”

“It is such an honor to be selected to serve as TLU’s next president,” said Dr. Cottrell. “It has been my privilege as TLU’s chief academic officer to work with a supportive Board of Regents, Dr. Dorsey, a strong senior leadership team, outstanding faculty, and committed staff. TLU’s focus on preparing our students to serve and lead in our diverse world is what brings us together and also means that we have significant work to continue to do. TLU has much to contribute to our community and region and is an important part of the higher education landscape in Texas and among faith-based institutions in our country. I look forward to leading us in a way that honors our mission and allows us to fully realize our potential as we deliver on our promise to our students to provide them an excellent education with lifelong implications.”

Prior to serving as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at TLU, Dr. Cottrell served as provost at William Peace University in Raleigh, N.C., associate dean and director of graduate programs at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., and professor of history and assistant dean of the faculty at Cottey College in Nevada, Mo. In September 2017, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) awarded Dr. Cottrell its prestigious chief academic officer honor for her significant contribution to academic leadership and enhancing the role and work of the private college chief academic officer. She also was an invited participant in the CIC’s program on Vocation and Institutional Mission for prospective college presidents in 2017-18.

Dr. Cottrell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education from Baylor University, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in history from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Cottrell and her husband, Alan, are both native Texans and they have one grown son, Andy. Theyplan to live in the president’s home on the TLU campus. 

Article Written by TLU's Office of Marketing and Communications 

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Sarah Story
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