Tennessee Higher Education Commission Elects New Officers
NASHVILLE – July 27 – The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) today elected two new officers during the quarterly meeting. Mr. Vernon Stafford was elected Vice-Chair for West Tennessee, and Ms. Mintha Roach was elected Vice-Chair for East Tennessee.
During the same meeting, Murfreesboro attorney Evan Cope was re-elected as chair, and former Memphis Mayor AC Wharton, Jr. was re-elected as secretary.
“With Tennessee at the forefront of national conversations around higher education, our Commission members have provided incredible policy leadership to keep our state moving forward,” said THEC Executive Director Mike Krause. “Mr. Stafford and Ms. Roach bring valuable perspectives to the Commission; we are fortunate to have them in these leadership roles.”
Stafford lives in the Memphis area and is executive vice president and chief audit executive for First Horizon National Corporation. He previously worked for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency the United States Treasury. He joined the Commission in May as a joint appointment by the Speakers of the General Assembly.
“Higher education has been transformative to many people in Tennessee and is a path to opportunity for anyone,” Stafford said. “The Commission is committed to ensuring that every Tennessee student has access to a quality degree or credential.”
Roach, who lives in Knoxville, is the president and chief executive officer of the Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB). Having worked at KUB since 1992, she became president and CEO in 2004. Roach was appointed to the Commission by Governor Bill Haslam in 2015.
“Colleges and universities in Tennessee have demonstrated that they are focused on student success and, as a Commission, we want to be responsive to student and campus needs,” Roach said. “I look forward to serving as Vice-Chair of the Commission and continuing the forward-thinking work of my fellow Commission members and staff.”
The Commission is composed of nine voting members appointed from the general public, each serving six-year terms and representing the Grand Divisions of the State equally; three Constitutional Officers who are ex-officio voting members (Comptroller of the Treasury, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State); two ex-officio student members; and the Executive Director of the State Board of Education, as an ex-officio non-voting member.
THEC serves as the coordinating body for Tennessee’s 51 public colleges and universities, which collectively educate nearly 250,000 students. The Commission coordinates the state’s six locally-governed universities and the two systems of public higher education, the University of Tennessee system and the Tennessee Board of Regents.
About the Tennessee Higher Education Commission
The Tennessee Higher Education Commission was created in 1967 by the Tennessee General Assembly. The Commission develops, implements, and evaluates postsecondary education policies and programs in Tennessee while coordinating the state’s systems of higher education, and is relentlessly focused on increasing the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary credential.