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UT System appoints new CEO for University Lands

University of Texas System Chancellor James B. Milliken announced today that William R. “Billy” Murphy, Jr., vice president and executive officer of King Ranch, Inc., will be the new CEO of University Lands.

Murphy has more than 15 years of legal and land management experience, including in the oil, gas, and mineral sector, as well as renewable resources. At King Ranch, he manages the sustained development of roughly 1 million acres that includes the largest privately owned surface and mineral operation in Texas. 

University Lands, which comprises 2.1 million acres of land in West Texas, was established by the Texas Constitution in 1876 for the benefit of the UT and Texas A&M systems of higher education. Leases on the oil, gas, mineral rights, as well as solar and wind energy development and livestock grazing on University Lands generate about $1 billion annually for the Permanent University Fund, an endowment that benefits 26 UT and A&M institutions.

“University Lands has been an extraordinary resource for the UT and A&M institutions for almost a century, and it’s our responsibility to ensure it continues to benefit these huge university systems and the state of Texas into the future,” Chancellor Milliken said. “Billy Murphy is an expert in his field who understands the unique dynamic of managing substantial and significant acreage in perpetuity. He comes to us with a deep knowledge of Texas’ most precious and storied assets, and we’re delighted he’ll be leading the University Lands team.”

Murphy will begin his new position with the University Lands Office in early February. He will take the reins from Joseph Quoyeser, currently interim CEO. Under Quoyeser’s leadership, University Lands had a very successful fiscal year 2021, and is poised to generate even higher revenues in FY 2022. 

Both Chancellor Milliken and University Lands Advisory Board Chairman Rad Weaver lauded Quoyeser’s stewardship of University Lands over the past year. 

“We are deeply grateful to Joe Quoyeser for his solid leadership over the last year, and we are confident Billy Murphy will hit the ground running and advance the effective management of University Lands for the benefit of UT and A&M institutions,” said Weaver, who also is also Vice Chairman of the UT System Board of Regents.  

Prior to his decade-long tenure with King Ranch, Murphy practiced law with Bracewell LLP with a focus on oil and gas transactions. He earned a law degree from South Texas College of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University.  

“I am humbled and honored to work alongside the talented professionals at University Lands in managing this unique and important asset,” Murphy said. “It has benefited so many in Texas higher education. I look forward to continuing that legacy and will strive to make University Lands a leader in energy transition and long-term sustainability for generations to come. I am thankful to the Board of Regents, the University Lands Advisory Board, the Chancellor and the many companies that partner with University Lands.”

About The University of Texas System

For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 13 institutions, an enrollment of more than 243,000 students and an operating budget of $23.4 billion (FY 2022), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 67,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its medical degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 8.6 million outpatient visits and almost 1.8 million hospital days in 2020. UT institutions also are among the most innovative in the world, collectively ranking No. 4 for most U.S. patents granted in 2020, and the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation in federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.

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