The controversial president of Amarillo College may soon be leaving the educational institution for an opportunity in Austin.
Late last month, Austin Community College District trustees named Amarillo College President Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart the sole finalist to become chancellor of the school. Lowery-Hart emerged as the top choice for the job after a nationwide search and won out over two other finalists for the position.
Lowery-Hart’s potential departure from Amarillo College comes following an election for the Amarillo College Board of Regents this year in which Lowery-Hart’s tenure and the school’s focus on diversity programs were put under the spotlight. In particular, challengers for seats on the board heavily criticized Amarillo College and its president for the school’s association with the Aspen Institute and called for the college to be more reflective of the values of the West Texas community.
At the time of the campaign, Amarillo College Board of Regents candidate Jason Foglesong criticized AC for pushing values which he said run contrary to the spirit of the region the school is meant to serve.
“Amarillo College has embraced the policies and philosophies of the Aspen Institute, which openly pushes a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion agenda, better known as ‘wokeism,’” Foglesong said in a video. “[The Aspen Institute is] an institution that declares free speech and conservative Christian values — Amarillo values — dangerous.”
While Lowery-Hart has not officially announced whether he will be taking the job, he has entered negotiations with Austin Community College. In addition, the college president has placed his home in Amarillo up for sale.
According to Austin Community College, Lowery-Hart holds a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and rhetoric from West Texas State University, a master’s degree in communication studies from Texas Tech University, and a doctorate in interpersonal communication – with an emphasis on gender and diversity – from Ohio University.
Lowery-Hart has served as Amarillo College president since 2014.