Hodge issues statement on regents chairman stepping down, will e

Hodge issues statement on regents chairman stepping down, will end 'Fire Francis' campaign

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Jerry Hodge Jerry Hodge
Rick Francis Rick Francis
LUBBOCK, Texas -

Former Amarillo mayor Jerry Hodge, who led the effort to remove Rick Francis, chairman of the Texas Tech Board of Regents, released this statement Friday, a day after Francis announced he'd be stepping down as chairman. The statement said he thanks Francis for his service and also thanked those who supported the effort to remove Francis.

Hodge says his online "Fire Francis" campaign will end. Hodge explained to us a few days ago the reason for the campaign.

Hodge planned to donate $10 million to Texas Tech in September, reportedly including $3 million for a Tech pharmacy school and $7 million for a proposed veterinary school. He withdrew it because of his frustration.

This is Hodge's e-mailed statement with quotes attributed to Hodge:

“I am happy that Francis did the right thing by stepping down from the chair position,” Hodge said. “However, I’ll be happier when he publicly states that he will not seek reappointment to the board or steps away all together. After all, 15 years is long enough”

More than 1,000 emails were sent to the Governor and the regents from alumni and Tech supporters across the nation. “I’m convinced that yesterday’s actions wouldn’t have happened if all of these people hadn’t taken the time to make their voices heard,” Hodge said.

“This has always been about doing what is best for Texas Tech, and that includes ensuring strong leadership is in place on the Board of Regents,” Hodge said. “After watching the press conference yesterday, I feel confident Chairman Tim Lancaster will be a strong leader and work with his fellow regents to do what is best for Tech. I am proud of all the regents and I tip my hat to them.”

Hodge was also excited that Dr. Mitchell was named the sole finalist for the position of chancellor. “Dr. Mitchell has led the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center through a period of tremendous growth, and I’m excited to see where he will take the entire system,” Hodge said. “Margaret and I both have a lot of respect for him.”

The “Firefrancis.com” website and Facebook page will both go dark today. However, Hodge will continue to work to ensure the vet school in Amarillo becomes a reality and hopes those who supported this effort will join him. “The vet school is critical not only to West Texas but the entire state,” Hodge said. “I know that if we all work together, we can make it happen, but we must work together.” Hodge will create a pathway for those who want to help in this effort. More on that initiative will be announced soon.

Hodge also said that he and his wife, Margaret, will resume their discussions with the regents and the University regarding their $10 million gift, “I’ve always been a Texas Tech supporter, and I always will be,” Hodge added.

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