Heather Wilson, Ph.D was appointed president of The University of Texas at El Paso August 15, 2019. Wilson was appointed Secretary of the U.S. Air Force in 2017 and oversees 685,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces, and an annual budget of $160 billion. Prior to that appointment, she served as president of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, an engineering and science research university, from 2013 to 2017.
In 1998, Wilson became the first female military veteran elected to a full term in Congress, representing New Mexico until 2009.
After she graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in its third class to admit women and was selected as a Rhodes Scholar – one of the world’s most celebrated and distinguished international fellowships – she served as an Air Force officer for seven years. She was subsequently appointed to the National Security Council and as cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department.
Representative from New Mexico; born in Keene, Cheshire County, N.H., December 30, 1960; graduated from Keene High School, Keene, N.H.; B.S. United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., 1982; Rhodes Scholar, M.Phil., Oxford University, Oxford, England, 1984; D.Phil., Oxford University, Oxford, England, 1985; United States Air Force, 1978-1989; cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, 1995-1998; director for European Defense Policy and Arms Control, National Security Council, 1989-1991; elected as a Republican to the One Hundred Fifth Congress by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of United States Representative Steven Schiff, reelected to the five succeeding Congresses (June 23, 1998-January 3, 2009); not a candidate for reelection in 2008, but was an unsuccessful candidate for nomination for the United States Senate.