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Perry appoints new member of UNT board

Profile image for By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer
By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Ernest “Ernie” Kuehne Jr. of Dallas to the University of North Texas System Board of Regents, the governor’s office announced Monday.

His appointment is effective immediately and his term will expire May 22, 2017.

Kuehne will replace Michael Williams, who is now serving as interim president of the UNT Health Science Center.

Williams stepped down as regent the day before former UNT Health Science Center President Scott Ransom was fired.

Kuehne and UNT Chancellor Lee Jackson could not be reached for comment.

Kuehne, an attorney and president and board chairman of Kuehne Oil Company, earned a bachelor’s degree from UNT in 1966. He had a track scholarship to attend the university.

The Mart native went on to earn his law degree from Baylor University in 1969.

Kuehne served as chairman of the UNT Basketball Enhance Committee in August 2012, raising more than $3 million in gifts for a new training facility, scoreboard and scholarships.

Kuehne, a member of the State Bar of Texas, has served in many organizations, including past president of the American Junior Golf Association, chairman of the Farmers and Merchants National Bank board of directors and is a past member of the Park Cities YMCA Sports Committee.

During a special meeting on Dec. 21, the UNT Board of Regents voted 7-0 to fire Ransom, who had served as president of the Health Science Center since 2006.

Ransom received a letter on Dec. 18, three days before his termination meeting, citing the reasons he was being fired for “good cause.” One reason, according to the letter from regents, was for interfering with the discussions of a study for a possible merger between the Denton and Fort Worth campuses. Regents also said in the letter that Ransom had disregarded and undermined the implementation of the shared services between all campuses.

While Ransom has declined to speak with the media, he released a statement a couple weeks ago, calling his termination a “difference of opinion” between himself and Jackson.

Nancy Sterling, with ML Strategies LLC, said Ransom has filed an appeal with the university that is pending. The Boston-based consulting firm is representing Ransom.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is .