Dr. Ray M. Keck, III, was named Interim President of Texas A&M University-Commerce on June 1, 2016 and was named to the permanent position November 8, 2016. He came to A&M-Commerce from Texas A&M International University in Laredo, where he had served as President for 15 years. Prior to that time, he was a member of the faculty in Laredo and had served as department chair and Provost.
Born in San Antonio, Texas, he graduated from the Texas Military Institute. He holds an A.B. and Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literature from Princeton University and has studied at Harvard Divinity School, Bryn Mawr College in Madrid and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Dr. Keck began his teaching career at The Hotchkiss School in 1970. For more than 40 years he has taught, studied, and written about Spanish literature, with an emphasis on the Spanish Golden Age.
Since his undergraduate days, Dr. Keck has studied and played the organ, especially the music of J. S. Bach. He has performed often with orchestras and ensembles, and has held posts as director of church music for parishes in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Texas.
Ray Keck began his life as a teacher wondering if that profession might fit. He was, very soon and in the first year, enchanted by the challenge of teaching American kids all about Spanish literature, language, and culture. This was especially thrilling when addressing an audience in South Texas, students who have no knowledge of their Hispanic heritage. At the same time, he threw himself into designing and raising money to build pipe organs in Laredo, as well as organizing the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Unexpectedly, the Provost’s position at A&M International became vacant. Urged by the deans to apply, he was named to that position. The opportunity to spread beyond one classroom his deeply held ideas concerning teaching and learning led him to seek the presidency in Laredo. It was the most rewarding professional experience he could possibly have imagined. Fifteen years later, following the tragic death of Dr Dan Jones, the Chancellor asked him to go to Commerce. He and Patricia have found a warm and happy home in Hunt County.
To have led two universities for The Texas A&M University System is a blessing he could never have imagined when he began his teaching career in the fall of 1970.
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