Dr. William “Bill” Ellis announced as TSHA’s new executive director

TSHA's new Executive DirectorDr. William "Bill" Ellis

Ellis replaces retiring Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jesús “Frank” de la Teja

AUSTIN, Texas—The Board of Directors of the Texas State Historical Association has appointed Dr. William “Bill” Ellis as the new executive director of TSHA. Ellis becomes the 15th executive director in the Association’s 123-year history.

Ellis joins TSHA following an impressive career in academia. He most recently served as president of Howard Payne University in Brownwood, a position he held for almost 10 years prior to announcing his retirement from the University. Beyond his tenure as president of HPU, he has held numerous leadership positions throughout his career in higher education, including serving as a department chair, dean, and chief academic officer. His academic specialty is in American literature and creative writing.

Following his appointment as executive director, Ellis said, “I am extremely excited to join the TSHA team. I have known of the Association since my undergraduate days at Hardin-Simmons University, when I was a student of Dr. Rupert Richardson [TSHA fellow and president from 1969-70]. I am deeply honored to be selected as executive director, and I look forward to working with our distinguished board and to meeting the TSHA membership at our Annual Meeting in Austin [February 27-29, AT&T Hotel and Conference Center]. My goals are to support and sustain all the many things that we do so well in publishing and education, and to expand the reputation and footprint of TSHA around the state.”

Ellis succeeds outgoing TSHA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jesús “Frank” de la Teja, who notified the TSHA board last year of his plans to retire in early 2020. De la Teja has served in a number of capacities for TSHA throughout his career, including book review editor for the Southwestern Historical Quarterly from 1997-2014 and president of the Association from 2007-2008. He will continue to serve in an advisory capacity to Ellis during the leadership transition and will remain involved with the Association as a Fellow and life member.

“Serving as chief executive officer over the last two years has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my career,” said de la Teja of his time at TSHA. “I leave the Association proud of the work its dedicated staff has done to continue to meet the history education needs of Texans in the most authoritative and inclusive way possible, and I am deeply appreciative of the support I received in that task from our board of directors and officers.”

As executive director, Ellis will work closely with Chief Historian Dr. Walter Buenger to guide the Association’s publication and education programs in the new decade. For more information on TSHA and its programs, visit the Association’s website, TSHAonline.org.


Founded as a private, nonprofit educational organization on March 2, 1897, TSHA (Texas State Historical

Association) is the longest continually running historical society in Texas and is one of the nation’s most dynamic regional history organizations. Reinforced by more than one hundred years of scholarship, its mission is to further the appreciation, understanding, and teaching of the rich and unique history of Texas through research, writing, publication, and educational programs, and TSHA Press is the state’s oldest publisher of books on Texas history. The Association is housed at The University of Texas at Austin.