Nearly 10 years into his tenure as chancellor, Victor Boschini has overseen some of the largest academic and physical transformations in the university’s history: The construction of the Campus Commons, the $143 million state-of-the-art football stadium and the highest number of applicants in the university’s history.
According to a recent Image magazine article, Boschini has raised the university from a good regional school to one that rivals the best state schools.
Freshman business major Bret Polk reminisced about attending football games and visiting the university as a child with his parents, who are both alumni. Now, as a student, he said he is thrilled to be enrolled during one of the most exciting times to be a Horned Frog.
“My dad played baseball here and my mom also went here. I remember when the stadium was just a concrete box with seats and some out-dated lighting. It really was nothing compared to what we have now,” Polk said. “There used to be a parking lot where the commons is – and that really is beautiful – my parents are jealous that I have it. But really, this is the best time to be here, to be at TCU. We are growing, there’s a lot going on and things are moving forward.”
With such change happening under Boschini’s watchful eye, one can only imagine what the university would be like in a post-Boschini era. It is hard to guess how, when the time comes, the process of “succession” would work to choose another individual to lead the university.
The process is fairly simple: the Board of Trustees forms a search committee made up of the trustees, faculty members and staff. Once they have narrowed down a list of prospective individuals, interviewed them and carefully combed through their applications, the committee votes on the candidates.
Boschini, who will soon begin a second decade in his current role, said he is not sure how much longer he will serve. It comes down to two things, he wrote.
“I hope to do this job until the Board fires me OR until the day that I come in and for the third day in a row I feel no joy in coming to my office. Do you see what I mean? Basically, I think it is time to leave when I no longer feel I am making a contribution. Of course, the irony of that really is that typically I would be the last to know.”
DISCIPLES OF CHRIST
Until the appointment of Michael R. Ferrari as Chancellor in 1998, every individual who served in that capacity had been a minister within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Protestant denomination with which the university is affiliated. Boschini is only the second Chancellor in the school’s history to come from a different background.
When asked if having a chancellor who is not a minister has spurred any of the university’s recent growth, Boschini wrote in an e-mail that he did not believe it was an issue at all.
“I think the most important factor is for any Chancellor to understand the historical relationship that the school has with the Church. I think that is more important than where a particular person chooses to worship.”
SERVICE TO THE UNIVERSITY
Boschini has served as Chancellor for almost ten years – he will celebrate his tenth anniversary in the spring of 2013 – and in those ten years, he has met thousands of students, delivered 11 commencement addresses, nine convocation addresses and led a record-setting capital campaign that raised more than $400 million.
But when asked what he would like his legacy as Chancellor to be, he is much more modest.
“I really don’t think about that,” Boschini wrote in an e-mail. “It is really up to you (the students/faculty/staff) to decide any of those kinds of questions. I just always hope to leave this place just a little bit better.”
Boschini also wrote that what he is most proud of is not the construction or the addition of new buildings or stadiums, but the daily interactions with students and faculty. As he put it, the people who love TCU are what make the university great.
There will come a time when Boschini will step down and pass the mantle of Chancellor to another individual, but according to him, he will not be doing so to move to another university.
Boschini wrote that he plans to retire here in Fort Worth. He and his family have moved seven times during his career and love the university and Fort Worth, he wrote.
“This really is the place where our children grew up, and where we feel ‘permanent.’” Boschini wrote.