Texas Southern University all but ended a 19-month search for a new president Friday, turning to a familiar face and known problem solver to rehabilitate the proud but chronically troubled school.
Regents voted 9-0 to name John Rudley, the University of Houston's interim president, as the sole finalist for the top job at Texas' largest historically black university. State law requires the governing board to wait 21 days before finalizing the appointment.
Glenn Lewis, the board's chairman, said Rudley emerged as the leading candidate because of his extensive background in higher education finance, edging former state lawmaker Anthony Hall, the city of Houston's chief administrative officer.
Both candidates had ideas for turning around the 9,500-student university, Lewis said, but Rudley "showed us that he has the ability to implement his vision. I think his résumé speaks for itself."
TSU has been without a permanent president since the board fired Priscilla Slade amid a spending scandal in June 2006.
Rudley received his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Toledo and master's and doctoral degrees from Tennessee State University. His wife, Docia, is a professor at TSU's Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
"It is a singular honor to be selected as the next president of Texas Southern University, and it is one that I do not take lightly," Rudley said in a statement. "I am privileged to have the opportunity to return to this great institution."