June 3, 2021, Austin, TX – Governor Greg Abbott has named Fred Farias, III, O.D. as chair and Donna N. Williams vice chair of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for terms set to expire at the pleasure of the Governor. The board provides leadership and coordination for the Texas higher education system.
Fred Farias, III, O.D. of McAllen is an optometrist and CEO of 20/20 Vision Care. He has served on The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board since 2015, and is currently vice chairman of the board, chairman of the Academic and Workforce Success Committee, and a member of the Texas Higher Education Foundation. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, former president of the Texas Optometric Association and the Rio Grande Valley Optometric Society, and a former member of the American Optometric Association Board of Trustees. Farias was named the Texas Optometrist of the Year in 2015 and the National Optometrist of the Year in 2016.He is a past gubernatorial appointee to the Texas Optometry Board, where he chaired the Licensing and Administration Committee. He is a lifetime member of The University of Texas (UT) System Chancellor’s Executive Committee and the UT Austin Development Board and a member of the UT Longhorn Foundation Athletic Advisory Council. He is a charter member of the Optometry Cares – The AOA Foundation. Additionally, he is active in the McAllen community, serving as chair of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Council. He has served on many local and statewide boards including the Vannie E. Cook Cancer Center, the Rio Grande Valley Arthritis Foundation and the Museum of South Texas History. Farias received a Bachelor of Science from The University of Texas at Austin, a Doctor of Optometry from Southern College of Optometry and a Master’s degree from Harvard Medical School.
Donna N. Williams of Arlington is vice president and program manager for Parsons Transportation Group, Inc. She has served on THECB since 2018, and is currently vice chairman of the Academic and Workforce Success Committee. She was a member of the Texas State University System Board of Regents and served as chair for two terms. Additionally, she is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and serves of the Laura Bush Institute for Women’s Health National Advisory Board and the Parsons Federal Credit Union board of directors. Her former member affiliations include the National Association of Professional Women, Project Management Institute and a board of director for the Society of American Military Engineers, Corporation for National Community Service, Dallas African American Museum and Justin F. Kimball High School Academy of Hospitality & Tourism (former chair). Williams received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Prairie View A&M University.
The mission of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) is to serve as a resource, partner, and advocate for Texas higher education, resulting in a globally competitive workforce that positions Texas as an international leader. The agency works to support the state’s higher education goals, found in Texas’ strategic plan for higher education, Building a Talent Strong Texas. THECB can be found online at highered.texas.gov.