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Hooten Announces Retirement Plans, Hernandez Named Acting VP

March 24, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Al Hooten, vice president for finance and operations, has announced his intentions to retire from Sam Houston State University at the end of the year.

headshot of Al Hooten
Al Hooten

During the next nine months, until his official retirement date of Dec. 31, Hooten will serve as executive vice president of administration, focusing on facilities projects and the campus master plan that were begun during his tenure.

“During Al’s almost three years of service at SHSU, he has overseen a number of projects that are currently in progress,” said President Dana Gibson. “His agreeing to stay with the university until the end of the year will allow for continuity and prevent any issues in the progress of these current projects.

"I would like to thank Al for his service to the university,” Gibson said. “I am grateful for his leadership in helping SHSU move forward on a number of endeavors that will have an impact on the university community for decades to come.”

Carlos Hernandez, who most recently served as vice president for finance and administration at the University of North Texas at Dallas, will serve as acting vice president for finance and operations, taking on the other responsibilities of the division, beginning March 24.

Among those duties, Hernandez will serve as the university’s chief financial officer and manage SHSU’s investment portfolio, as well as oversee the departments of human resources and risk management, public safety services, controller's office, budget, and operations including university dining and procurement and business services.

Hooten has served as vice president for finance and operations since August 2011. He previously was vice chancellor for finance and administration at the University of Tennessee at Martin; vice president for business affairs at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls; and associate vice president for finance and administration at Boise State University in Idaho.

He earned both his Bachelor of Science degree in business and his Master of Science degree in higher education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

During his three years at SHSU, Hooten has been instrumental in updating SHSU’s Campus Master Plan; helping the campus become more eco-friendly through the upgrading or renovation of various facilities, accounting for half-a-million dollars in annual utility savings; and working to create more confidence in the budgetary process by linking that process with the institutional strategic plan.

Within the human resources department, he has overseen the implementation of the Talent Management program, which allows staff members to become more effective in their service to the university by providing professional development courses online, as well as the equity review of job positions.

He also has worked to improve technology in the University Police Department, making it more efficient; added an arborist to the staff, who, along with the grounds crew, helps maintain the beauty of campus; initiated a number of current construction projects; and worked with staff to increase efficiency and effectiveness within the division.

“You can’t get any of this done without quality staff, and through their work, all of these accomplishments have been made,” Hooten said. “Pulling together as a team really makes all of these things possible.”

As executive vice president of administration, Hooten will continue to oversee close to $100 million in construction projects by the end of the calendar year and prepare proposals for tuition revenue bonds to be voted upon by the Texas Legislature in its next session.

Current projects include:

  • Moving forward with master planning of the new 78-acre center for criminal justice studies on Highway 75, which will house the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas and Correctional Management Institute of Texas upon completion;
  • Completing construction on the Student Health and Counseling Center, tentatively scheduled to open in the fall;
  • Planning for the South Residential Complex on campus, which will include parking, a dining hall and a residential facility; and
  • Initiating the Fredrick L. Pirkle Center for Industrial Technology and a Vivarium, which will house animals—from insects to mammals—being studied for research projects by faculty members across campus.

Hernandez has worked in higher education for more than 26 years, carrying out a variety of financial accounting and administrative roles. He has been active in the development and implementation of administrative and fiscal policy; budget development and management; financial reporting; business analytics; treasury and cash management; and debt financing, among many other areas.

A certified public accountant, he previously acted as associate vice president for finance and administrations/controller at the University of North Texas and worked his way from accountant II to associate vice president for business affairs/comptroller during the course of his 23-year career at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Hernandez earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting, his master’s degree in higher education administration and his doctorate in education, all from the University of Texas at El Paso.

“I'm happy to have this wonderful opportunity to join the SHSU leadership team and serve in this critical role,” Hernandez said. “I'm looking forward to collaborating with President Gibson, Mr. Hooten, members of the cabinet, the finance and operations team members, and engaging with the university community in advancing institutional priorities.”



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