Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed Annie Valicek, a senior agribusiness and economics major at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, as the next student regent for The Texas A&M University System.
“I am elated for the opportunity to serve in this capacity for the 2023-2024 term. This appointment is a role that I do not take lightly, and I am encouraged by the hard work and tangible results from those who have served before me,” Valicek said in a news release from WT. “I am eager to continue ensuring that we are striving for excellence in all that we do. The System is made complete by each campus and its respective areas of expertise, location, culture, and student population, and I intend to be intentional in my service to serve the needs of all. I am honored to serve and ready to work with tenacity.”
“On behalf of everyone at West Texas A&M University, we are proud to have Annie representing WT in this capacity,” said President Walter V. Wendler in the WT release. “Annie did a tremendous job serving as student body president, and I am confident she will thrive as the TAMUS student regent.”
Valicek is the first WT student to serve as regent since Cassie Daniel in 2007-08.
“We are honored to have Ms. Valicek on the Board of Regents for The Texas A&M University System,” said Chancellor John Sharp in an earlier news release from Texas A&M. “Agribusiness is one for the core focuses for The Texas A&M University System, and I am sure Ms. Valicek will do an outstanding job of representing her fellow students’ interests.”
Valicek, a Houston native, is the immediate past student body president at WT. She also is a founding member of WT's Collegiate Farm Bureau and is chair of career and personal development for Chi Omega sorority. Valicek interned at the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Sprouse Shrader Smith PLLC and American Farm Bureau Federation. She plans to attend law school after graduation.
In her spare time, Valicek leads a church youth group and volunteers with Special Olympics.
In 2005, the 79th Texas Legislature authorized the governor to appoint non-voting student regents to each university system’s board of regents. The chancellor of each university system recommends at least two students to the governor from applications submitted by participating universities. The Texas A&M System’s Board of Regents meets quarterly with special meetings arranged as needed.
Valicek replaces former student regent Demetrius Harrell Jr., a criminal justice major from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Abbott also appointed second-year Texas A&M Law School student Cage Sawyers to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Sawyers is from the Texoma region of North Texas, graduating as the valedictorian of Van Alstyne High School in 2017. He majored in Public Policy and Energy Technology at Texas Christian University, graduating summa cum laude in 2021.
The six other student regents Abbott appointed to their respective universities, for terms set to expire on May 31, 2024, are the following:
Texas Southern University: Dylan Getwood of Port Arthur, pursuing a degree in health information management
Texas State University System: Kelvin Elgar of Beaumont, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Lamar University
Texas Woman's University: Jianna Covarelli of Providence Village, pursuing both a Bachelor of Social Work with a generalist's certification and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with an emphasis in legal studies
University of Houston System: Mielad Ziaee of Houston, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with minors in biology and medicine & society
University of North Texas System: Adebola “Serah” Sulaiman of Mesquite, who is pursuing a master’s degree in physician assistant studies from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth
University of Texas System: John Michael Austin of Austin, currently pursuing a Doctor of Medicine from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: WT student from Houston appointed regent by Gov. Abbott