Lesa Roe Takes office as UNT System Chancellor

Date Published: 
Monday, October 9, 2017

Lesa Roe, former Deputy Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has taken office as Chancellor for the University of North Texas System. 

“Lesa Roe is a change agent and that’s what excites me about her arrival to the UNT System – she led incredible, high-impact programs at NASA including the International Space Station and the Mars rover landing,” said UNT System Board Chair G. Brint Ryan. “As we got to know Lesa through the search process, she really checked all the boxes as far as skills and experience. We are eager to get to work with her as we continue to build the UNT System.”

The Chancellor is the chief executive officer of the UNT System and is responsible for all aspects of the System’s operations, including general oversight of 10,000+ employees and the three UNTS campuses – UNT in Denton, UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth and UNT Dallas – as well as the UNT System administration. Chancellor Roe is replaces Lee F. Jackson, who will remain with the UNT System in a consulting role through the end of 2017, and the first-ever woman to lead UNTS.  

Prior to her arrival in North Texas, Chancellor Roe spent 30 years with NASA and her leadership led to numerous breakthrough science, space, and aeronautics innovations and missions advancing our nation’s leadership and international knowledge of aeronautics and space. Responsible for leading Curiosity’s mission to Mars and the creation of the International Space Station, Chancellor Roe to led strategy, execution, and operations nationally across all NASA field centers for a $19.6 billion annual federal agency with $31 billion in assets. She was responsible for general oversight of 17,000 NASA employee and 10 field centers, while also directing program and project teams on product/mission delivery, acquisition strategy, partnership and international strategy and risk management.“I am thankful for the UNT System Board of Regents’ confidence and trust in my leadership abilities and I am excited to get to work next month,” Ms. Roe said. “I have a passion for working with students, a passion for leading teams, a passion for research and a passion for making a difference. The opportunity to engage in those passions is prevalent throughout the UNT System. Combine those aspects of the job with the location – North Texas is arguably the fastest-growing economy and job market in the country – and the possibilities are infinite.”

Chancellor Roe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Central Florida.  She has served on numerous boards and advisory councils including: the Virginia Governor’s Aerospace Advisory Council, American Astronautical Society, Virginia FIRST Robotics, and the Virginia Research and Technology Advisory Commission.  Her many honors include: 2017 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics AIAA Fellow, the 2015 Senior Executive Service Presidential Distinguished Rank Award and the 2006 Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award; NASA Exceptional Service Medal; University of Florida’s Distinguished Career Achievement and Outstanding Leadership in Engineering Awards; the 2010 Women in Aerospace Leadership Award; the 2010 YWCA Women of Distinction in Science and Technology; and the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2012 Bridge Builder Award. Chancellor Roe and her husband, Ralph, NASA's chief engineer, have two sons and a daughter.