Higher-Ed Commissioner Raymund Paredes Retires
Raymund Paredes steps down after 15 years promoting and helping Texans access postsecondary education
After 15 years as the state's commissioner of higher education, Raymund Paredes announced last week that he will step down from his post. "I just had a feeling that it's time to go," Paredes said early on in the quarterly meeting of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on Jan. 24. "You know it's getting close to the end when you talk to members of the Legislature and they all know the punch line to your jokes," Paredes said to laughs.
Paredes will remain commissioner until Aug. 31, so he can help guide the Coordinating Board – an agency that, as the name suggests, supports the state's public higher-ed system, from community colleges up through medical schools – through the 86th legislative session. Board Chair Stuart Stedman will lead the search for Paredes' replacement. At the same meeting, Stedman praised Paredes' service as an advocate for the state's college students – especially those from low-income families. "We have certain designated powers, but they're limited. But when the coordinating board speaks, the public listens, and that's all thanks to Commissioner Raymund Paredes," Stedman said. Under Paredes, the agency has taken the lead promoting and helping Texans access higher ed; its 60x30TX strategic plan calls for 60% of the state's 25-34 age group to have completed postsecondary education by 2030.
Paredes stressed that he isn't retiring, and he isn't going anywhere: "I'm a born-again Texan, and I plan to stay here," he said. (Paredes was born and raised in El Paso, but spent over four decades as a professor and administrator at UCLA.) He doesn't have concrete plans yet, but hopes to remain involved in higher education.