V. Lane Rawlins

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Veldon Lane Rawlins (born November 30, 1937) was the President of the University of North Texas for nearly four years starting in May 2010. He retired in February 2014 as President Emeritus. He is the former President of Washington State University (WSU) and of the University of Memphis.

Early life and education[edit]

Born on November 30, 1937 in southeastern Idaho, United States. He began his college education at Idaho State University and after serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Australia he transferred to Brigham Young University about the same time he married his wife Mary Jo Love. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1963 with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 1969, Rawlins obtained his doctoral degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Academic career[edit]

In 1968, Rawlins became part of the faculty of the Department of Economics at WSU. He served as the chair of the department from 1977 to 1981 and was WSU's vice provost from 1982-1986. He served as the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the University of Alabama for five years before assuming the presidency of the University of Memphis.

In June 2000, Rawlins returned to Washington State where he served as president until May 21, 2007. Rawlins created some controversy in the WSU community in 2002 when he tried to phase out the popular nickname "Wazzu" from usage. The change proved a firestorm of protest from students and alumni and he relented. He is remembered for a strategic plan developed by faculty that led to increases in research funding and to growth in the numbers of talented students choosing WSU.

Rawlins is a labor economist by training and much of his research work focused on the effects of education on earnings in people's lives. His books include "Public Service Employment: The Experience of a Decade," co-authored with Robert F. Cook and Charles F. Adams, published in 1985.

In 2006, Rawlins announced his retirement as president of WSU. He was succeeded by former University of Missouri System President Elson Floyd in late May 2007. Floyd is WSU's first African-American president.

Rawlins then returned to the School of Economic Sciences faculty. He served as the interim director of The William D. Ruckelshaus Center, a regional problem-solving program of Washington State University and the University of Washington, from 2007 - 2009.

On April 16, 2010, the University of North Texas System Board of Regents appointed V. Lane Rawlins as UNT's president for the 2010-11 academic year. The appointment, effective May 14, was expected to run through summer 2011 as UNT conducted a national search for its next president. On November 9, 2010, Rawlins accepted the offer to become the university's permanent full-time President. Rawlins succeeded Phil C. Diebel who served as UNT's interim president following the resignation in February 2010 of President Gretchen M. Bataille.

On March 5, 2013, Rawlins announced that he would retire at the end of January 2014 to attend to family needs and long-term personal commitments. He also accepted the UNT System Board of Regents’ offer to serve as President Emeritus, an unpaid position to work on special projects to help the university in key areas.


He and his wife Mary Jo Rawlins have three children and 11 grandchildren including a current undergraduate at Washington State. Rawlins is an avid fan of WSU Cougar Athletics and the Cougar Marching Band, but he also enjoys fly-fishing, golf, history, and literature.

While the Vice Chancellor of Alabama, Rawlins also served as bishop of the Tuscaloosa Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).[1] He was also the president of the North Memphis Tennessee Stake of the LDS Church.


External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Samuel H. Smith
President of Washington State University
Succeeded by
Elson Floyd