Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronnie D. Hawkins Jr. was officially appointed to his new post as president of Angelo State University at a special ceremony this morning (Aug. 17) in the ASU Houston Harte University.
The Texas Tech University System (TTUS) Board of Regents unanimously selected Hawkins as the sole finalist for ASU president on July 24, and state law requires at least 21 days must pass before final action could be taken. A recording of today’s appointment ceremony is available at angelo.edu/presidenthawkins.
The 11th president of Angelo State, Hawkins is the second ASU alum to serve as president, and the first Black president in the 92-year history of the institution.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to work with an incredible faculty, an incredible staff, and to be around the students,” Hawkins said. “Students come in as a customer of Angelo State, but they go out a product of Angelo State. We want to make them the best product to the world that they can be, such that people will say, ‘I want some of what they’re doing down there or over there or up there in San Angelo, Texas.’”
“I always wanted to make Angelo State proud,” he added, “and the way I worked, I was committed to that. Now, I want to make Angelo State proud, and I’m committed to doing it that way.”
A 1977 distinguished graduate, Hawkins attended ASU on a track and field scholarship and a Carr Scholarship. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in computer science and was a member of the Rams track and field teams that won Lone Star Conference Championships in 1974-75 and 1977. He went on to become the highest-ranking graduate of Angelo State’s ROTC Detachment 847, and was named a Distinguished ROTC Alumnus in 2001.
Hawkins takes over the leadership of his alma mater on the same day thousands of students returned to the ASU campus for the start of the 2020 fall semester.
“Today is a proud day for Angelo State University and the entire Texas Tech University System community,” said Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell, TTUS chancellor. “One of our own – an Angelo State alumnus, Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins Jr. – returns to serve as our next president of ASU. Ronnie is an exceptional leader, a person of integrity and commitment, and someone who has for decades honorably served his country and community. We couldn’t be more pleased about his appointment.”
Hawkins’ appointment as ASU president is the culmination of a nationwide search that began in May and attracted more than 100 applicants.
“On behalf of the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents, I want to send my heartfelt and enthusiastic congratulations to the entire Ram Family and Ronnie Hawkins on his appointment to the presidency of Angelo State University,” said Christopher M. Huckabee, board chairman. “Ronnie Hawkins is an outstanding leader who takes the helm of a remarkable institution at ASU. We know he’ll lead with the vision and distinction that has marked his entire career, and we are honored to have him as president.”
During an outstanding Air Force career that spanned nearly four decades, Hawkins completed assignments with the Strategic Air Command, U.S. Air Force Academy, Air Combat Command, Headquarters Pacific Air Force, Headquarters Air Force and Joint Chiefs of Staff. His final assignment was as director of the Defense Information Systems Agency in Fort Meade, Md., where he led a $10.2 billion global organization of 14,000 military and civilian personnel.
Hawkins’ many honors and awards include:
- Bronze Star
- Legion of Merit
- Defense Superior Service Medal
- Secretary of the Air Force Leadership Award
- “The Federal 100” by Federal Computer Weekly
- North American Technology Leadership Award from the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, Rocky Mountain Chapter
Throughout his military career, Hawkins also remained an academic. He earned master’s degrees from Abilene Christian University, Liberty University and the National Defense University, and completed a program for senior managers in government at Harvard University.
Following his Air Force retirement, Hawkins returned to San Angelo and became heavily involved in the community. He also taught leadership development courses as an adjunct visiting professor at ASU, and served as president and CEO of the Hawkins Group, a digital, information technology and cybersecurity firm. He and his wife, San Angelo native Maria Hawkins – who also attended ASU – were named the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 co-Citizens of the Year.
The Hawkins have been married for 46 years and have two sons, Col. Ronnie Hawkins III and Lt. Col. Joshua Hawkins, and a daughter, Christine Honesty.