Texas State Technical College System
Francette Carnahan retired August 31 after 40 years of service as an administrator and executive in Texas higher education institutions. But along the way she's also had plenty of "real world experience" too, working as a school bus driver and plow hand on her family farm. Beginning as a student secretary at the University of North Texas in 1972, she advanced to the position of Associate Registrar at UNT. She then worked at Grayson County College from 1982-1988, eventually becoming Associate Vice President for Admissions and Records. In 1988 she joined the executive team for Lone Star College-Tomball where she served ten years as Vice President for Student Development, and later as Vice President for Community and Economic Development. On a personal note, it was also in 1988 that I first met Francette at a transfer fair at her institution, which was called "Tomball College" at the time. I was a rookie admissions counselor trying to recruit Tomball College students to the University of Houston. Francette made sure I learned very quickly how important it was that her students earned Associate's Degrees before transferring. I didn't dare suggest otherwise!
As an advisor and project manager for major software conversions, Francette worked with numerous higher education institutions both in-state and nationally. She has been a frequent speaker and facilitator at conferences and staff-development seminars focusing on team-building, leadership and change management for a variety of institutions and not-for-profit organizations.
Ever since Francette graduated as valedictorian from Northwest High School in Justin, Texas, she's been an energetic leader committed to professional service. She served on the national Governing Board of the Datatel User's Group, helped found the Texas Datatel User's Group, and was an executive officer in the Texas Association of Community College Chief Student Affairs Administrators. Francette has also provided strong leadership to TACRAO, chairing many committees over the years and serving on numerous others. She was TACRAO's Treasurer in 1989-1990 and our President in 1991. But as Francette will proudly tell you, her finest TACRAO memory of all was not becoming Treasurer, or even President - no, her proudest TACRAO moment was winning the talent contest for the North Texas region at the 1980 conference in San Antonio. Her winning talent? Dancing! But Francette did not merely dance; she danced where no other TACRAO member had danced before -- on the table of then-TACRAO president Roy Lazenby! Yes, Francette's legendary table dance will live forever in TACRAO lore!
Francette graduated from the University of North Texas with a B.A., an M.Ed., and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration. In 1994 she was named Outstanding Alumna for the Higher Education Program at UNT. Francette is ending her higher education career at the Texas State Technical College System after 12 years of service as a Vice Chancellor. She and her husband David, who recently retired as Associate Dean at the UT Health Sciences Center School of Public Health, are now looking forward to traveling and spending time with their two nieces, who both happen to be attending Francette and David's respective alma maters.
On behalf of countless grateful colleagues and those who've benefitted from her wisdom, contributions, leadership, and friendship, it's my privilege to recognize Francette Carnahan's Honorary Membership in TACRAO.