Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says his new position as a visiting professor at Texas Tech University came about after he gave a speech recently at a banquet at Texas Tech University School of Law.
Gonzales says he started talking with Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance, a former Texas congressman who also is an attorney, and Hance offered him a job. Gonzales starts Aug. 1.
"I'm going to be in the Political Science Department," Gonzales says of his new position as a visiting professor at Texas Tech University. "It's a one-year gig and I'm going to come in and teach one course in the fall. It will probably be on national security issues. And I will be helping out the chancellor with other duties," including recruiting Hispanic students, he says.
According to a statement Texas Tech released Tuesday, Gonzales will assist Texas Tech and Angelo State University in recruiting and retaining "first generation and underrepresented students" and will be involved in planning a leadership training and development program aimed at minority students.
Hance writes in the release, "I am excited that Alberto Gonzales is bringing his experience to Texas Tech. His own upbringing in Houston as part of a migrant family with eight children makes him qualified to tell underrepresented Texas students that college is possible."
The statement also notes will teach a junior-level seminar course, "Contemporary Issues in the Executive Branch."
In 1995, then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush hired Gonzales, a former Vinson & Elkins transactional lawyer and a 1982 Harvard Law School graduate, to be general counsel at the Governor's Office. In 1997, Gov. Bush made Gonzales secretary of state, and a year later Bush appointed him to the Texas Supreme Court. In 2001, Gonzales left Austin to become President George W. Bush's White House counsel in Washington, D.C. Gonzales became attorney general in 2005.
Gonzales says he's not sure what the future holds as far as the possibility of working again for a Texas firm. "You know, I don't know if I'm still in the hunt for a firm job. I've been open to the possibility to going back to a big-firm job," Gonzales says. "But I'm ambivalent about going back as a partner. I've done that. And I worry that I would lose my flexibility to do other things. But if the right opportunity came along I'd consider it. But I'm excited about the Tech opportunity."
Gonzales, who resigned as AG as of Sept. 17, 2007, says he is not worried about a special prosecutor's investigation into the dismissals of U.S. Attorneys in 2006. But that investigation has hampered his job search, he says. "I think it was unrealistic for me to believe that I could pursue the things I want to pursue," Gonzales says. "It had an effect, no question about it. And others I've talked to want to make those things under review come out in a positive way. To answer your question, it is something that I had to do. But I'm grateful there's been no finding of criminal wrongdoing by me."