Lt.Gov Seal

Lieutenant Governor of Texas
President of the Senate

September 27, 1999
Contact: Ray Sullivan or Eric Bearse
(512) 463-0715

Perry Forms Special Commission on 21st Century Colleges and Universities
Group to Focus on Workforce Development, Role of Technology, Accessibility and Affordability of a College Degree, and Long-term Role and Mission of Higher Education in Texas

AUSTIN - Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry today appointed 15 individuals to serve on the newly formed Special Commission on 21st Century Colleges and Universities.

The commission will examine the workforce needs and demographic changes facing Texas in the coming years, and focus on ways to prepare and enhance the higher education system, focusing on such issues as the accessibility and affordability of a college degree in Texas; the role of advanced technology in facilitating learning and preparing students for the jobs of the future; and the appropriate role and mission of higher education in meeting the state's needs on a long-term basis.

"The dawn of the 21st Century is the perfect time for Texas to take a long-term look at improving higher education - its mission, its role in the new economy, and its accessibility and its affordability," Perry said.

"Today there are 140 public and private higher education institutions in Texas, but only one in five Texans holds a bachelors' or graduate degree," Perry said. "By tearing down barriers to a college degree, we will ensure unlimited opportunity and unmatched prosperity for the people of this state."

"The commission will take an in-depth look at how to make a good system better," Perry said. "By fully integrating advances in technology, college classrooms will not only better prepare our graduates for the workplace, but we can make college available to those who otherwise might not attend."

During the 76th Legislative Session, legislators created the $100 million TEXAS Grant Scholarship program helping the most economically disadvantaged Texans attend college. Legislators also appropriated nearly $1 billion in additional funds for higher education during the next biennium.

"I believe we must take a long-term, visionary approach toward making our colleges and universities the envy of the nation," Perry said. "I am confident that each of the appointed commission members is committed to asking the hard questions, and scratching beyond the surface to find innovative, positive solutions."

The commission will begin hearings across the state soon, and will issue a report by November 1, 2000. A summary of the commission charges follows, as well as biographies of public members.


(Chair: Jim Adams of San Antonio. Members: Kirbyjon H. Caldwell of Houston, Betsy Goebel Jones of Lubbock, Margarita Diaz Kintz of Austin, R. Steve Ledbetter of Houston, Nancy Cain Marcus of Dallas, Jeff Sandefer of Austin, Elaine Mendoza of San Antonio, Karen L. Shewbart of Lake Jackson, Danny Vickers of El Paso, Railroad Commissioner Tony Garza of Austin, Senator Carlos Truan of Corpus Christi, Senator Bill Ratliff of Mt. Pleasant, Senator Teel Bivins of Amarillo, and Senator Royce West of Dallas.

The Commission shall study issues related to institutions of higher education and their role in contributing to the human capital needed for the state of Texas to be a leader in the new economy of the 21st Century. These issues should include, but not be limited to:

The Lieutenant Governor recently asked the Senate Committee on Education to also study the partnerships between higher education and elementary and secondary education as it relates to college prep, workforce development and curriculum development. The chair of the Higher Education Coordinating Board will serve on the commission as a non-voting, "ex-officio" member.

James "Jim" Adams (San Antonio), Chair

Jim Adams recently served as Chairman of the Board of Texas Instruments Incorporated. He had previously retired from SBC Communications, Inc. as Group President responsible for International Operations. Adams began his career with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in 1965, eventually rising to the rank of president.

Adams is actively involved in community affairs and has placed special emphasis on projects relating to economic development and education. He is a co-founder of the Dallas Partnerships, the economic development arm of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce; served as chair to the Economic Development Task Forces set up by Governor Clements; was statewide chairman and co-founder of Communities in School from 1985 -1988. Adams is currently chairman of the board for Texans for Education, a member of the University of Texas Engineering School Advisory Council and the Texas A&M University School of Science Advisory Council. He is a member of the Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio.

Kirbyjon H. Caldwell (Windsor Village - Houston)

Kirbyjon Caldwell, a Houston native, is currently the Senior Pastor of St. John's United Methodist Church in downtown Houston and the Senior Minister at the Windsor Village United Methodist Church. Previously he was the Associate Pastor at St. Mary's United Methodist Church. Recently, he played a lead role in the development of the newly constructed 104,000 square foot Power Center, a multi-use complex designed to address the needs of the Southwest Houston Community and Corinthian Pointe (a master-planned community featuring a prayer center, a continuum care retirement community, a comprehensive wellness center, and a family life center.)

Caldwell is the author of The Gospel Of Good Success and holds multiple degrees from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, SMU, Huston-Tillostson College and Carleton College. He is also involved in numerous civic and business organizations.

Betsy Goebel Jones (Lubbock)

Betsy Goebel Jones, a Lubbock area native, is the Assistant Professor and Research Coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock. Over the past two decades she has served in a variety of teaching and administrative capacities at Texas Tech University, Baylor University and Dallas Community College.

Goebel Jones is a widely published author and editor of more than 15 scholarly publications in medical, educational and communications journals and more than 35 professional publications, brochures and academic reports. Her involvement in the Lubbock Community includes serving as the President-elect of the Lubbock Area Foundation, Chairman of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Race for the Cure and the Junior League of Lubbock. She holds Bachelor of Arts, post-graduate and doctorate degrees from Texas Tech University.

Margarita Diaz Kintz (Austin)

Margarita Diaz Kintz is the principal of The Kintz Group, a strategic planning and fundraising firm in Austin, specializing in major gift campaigns, development audits, staff training and board development. Diaz Kintz has more than 20 years experience in educational fundraising, corporate and foundation giving and higher education administration. Prior to forming her own small business Diaz Kintz worked at the Intel Corporation where, among her duties, she was responsible for training and development for new contribution activities worldwide.

She also represented Intel on the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Business Council and the University of Texas Pan American Foundation Board. She has held memberships on a number of corporate, public and academic giving associations. She was selected by Hispanic Business magazine as one of the 50 outstanding Hispanic women in U.S. corporations, and in 1997 she was selected as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the U.S. She earned her Bachelor of Arts and post-graduate degrees from The University of Akron.

R. Steve Letbetter (Houston)

Steve Letbetter is President & Chief Executive Officer of Reliant Energy. Prior to joining Reliant Energy, Letbetter worked at Houston Lighting & Power Company where he served in a variety of capacities, including President and Chief Operating Officer. Letbetter serves on the Board of a number of professional trade associations including the Electric Power Research Institute, the Association of Electric Companies of Texas, and the American Gas Association.

He is also a member of the Governor's Business Council and the Task Force Committee of A&M University Vision 2020. Letbetter is a 1998 recipient of the Outstanding Alumnus Award and serves on the Development Council of the Lowry Mays College and Graduate School of Business at Texas A&M. He received a BBA in accounting from Texas A&M University.

Nancy Cain Marcus (Dallas)

Nancy Cain Marcus currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Dallas and Duke University's (North Carolina) Board of Visitors. She has a long history of service with the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, working specifically to support the work of the Teacher's Academy where she served as chair on the Institute's Board of Trust from 1995-1997. She was named a Fellow of the Dallas Institute in 1997 and a Life Trustee in 1999. Mrs. Marcus has served on a number of Boards including the Executive Board of Southern Methodist University Libraries, the Board of Trustees of the Hockaday School, and the Advisory Boards of the Dallas Women's Foundation.

Mrs. Marcus earned a B.A. form Southern Methodist University and completed her post graduate studies at Manahattanville College. She is currently working toward her Ph.D. at the Institute of Philosophic Studies, University of Dallas.

Elaine Mendoza (San Antonio)

Elaine Mendoza is the president and CEO of Conceptual MindWorks, Inc. (CMI) which she founded in 1990. She is the sole proprietor and is responsible for all aspects of company and client-related operations. Mendoza is actively involved in a number of state and local civic organizations as well as national trade associations. Some of these include: the Commission on the advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development; SAWS Citizen's Advisory Panel (1998); 2007 Sports Fiesta San Antonio Board; the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the Alamo Workforce Development, Inc.

Among the numerous awards and recognition she has earned include San Antonio Business Journal's "40 Under 40 Rising Stars" (1996); Minority Small Business Person of the Year, San Antonio District (1996); and twice selected to appear in Hispanic magazines "Hispanic Entrepreneur 100" (1997 & 1998). Ms. Mendoza earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University. She apprenticed as an Engineer-in-training at the NASA Ames Research Center.

Jeff Sandefer (Austin)

Jeff Sandefer is President of Sandefer Capital Partners, a firm that invests in the domestic oil and gas industry. For the last nine years, he has taught Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas Business School. Sandefer serves as the Chairman of the Acton Institute, the Vice-Chairman of the National Review Institute, and is a director of a number of other charitable and civic groups. He holds a BS in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Texas and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Karen L. Shewbart (Lake Jackson)

Karen Shewbart has worked for Dow, one of the world's largest chemical companies, for 30 years. She has held various technical and managerial positions within the company and is currently the Director for Manufacturing and Engineering Learning Resources.

Shewbart is actively involved in a number of academic, professional and state organizations including: Regent, Brazosport College (1983-1998); Committee Chair, Brazosport River Authority; Chair, Texas Chemical Council-Water Task Force; Chair, Chemical Manufacturing Association, Best Management Practices; Chair, Governor's Task Group On Hazardous Waste and; Appointee to the Governor's Clean Air Study Committee. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Math at the University of Central Arkansas and completed her post-graduate work at the University of Arkansas.

Danny Vickers (El Paso)

Danny Vickers is the president and founder of EDM International, a data services company with over 2,000 employees in Juarez and Monterrey, Mexico. Previously, Vickers founded and served as president to the Aspen Group, an international trading company, and was president of Holguin Corporation, an international computer software company.

His community involvement includes: director of the Science & Technology Council for the State of Texas; director of the Texas-Mexico Border Task Force for the State of Texas; co-chair of the Paso Del Norte Infrastructure Collaborative that consists of 40 organizations from West Texas, Southern New Mexico and Juarez, Mexico; past chair of the Paso del Norte Bi-national Air Quality Task Force sponsored by the TNRCC; director for the El Paso Foreign Trade Association; director of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce and; chairman of the Educational Summit for El Paso. Danny Vickers is a certified public accountant. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Science in Economics from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Tony Garza (Austin)

Tony Garza was elected to the Texas Railroad Commission in November of 1998. As a commissioner, he works to keep the energy sector of the Texas economy strong and healthy, promote safety and ensure a sound and balanced approach to environmental issues.

Tony Garza is committed to higher education. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the University of Texas Alumni Association and on the Board of Advisors of the Texas A&M George Bush School of Government and Public Service.

Prior to his service on the Railroad Commission, Garza was a partner in the Austin law office of Bracewell & Patterson, L.L.P., a Houston-based law firm. He was Governor Bush's first appointment as Secretary of State in 1995. Between 1989 and 1995, he served as Cameron County Judge.

Senator Carlos Truan, of Corpus Christi, is the Dean of the Texas Senate, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, the Special Committee on Border Affairs, and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and Military Installations.

Senator Teel Bivins, of Amarillo, is the chairman of the Senate Education Committee and serves on the Natural Resource Committee and the Special Committee on Border Affairs.

Senator Bill Ratliff, of Mt. Pleasant, is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and serves on the Education and Natural Resource committees.

Senator Royce West, of Dallas, is the chairman of the Senate Education Committee's subcommittee on Higher Education and serves on the Education, Finance and Criminal Justice committees.