ICUT Staff

Ray Martinez, President 

Ray Martinez is president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT), which serves the state and federal policy interests of Texas’ regionally-accredited, nonprofit independent institutions of higher education. Prior to joining ICUT, Ray served as chancellor of WGU Texas and has held senior government relations positions at Rice University and with the Texas A&M University System. Ray previously served as director of the Higher Education Committee in the Texas Senate. Click here for Ray's full bio

Email: ray.martinez [at]

Elizabeth Puthoff, Vice President for Research and Policy Analysis

Elizabeth Puthoff joined ICUT in June 2005. A former high school chemistry teacher, she holds two masters' degrees from The University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Education and a Master of Public Affairs. Her responsibilities include producing research reports, conducting research projects and monitoring legislation. Her legislative assignments include student public education, teacher preparation and certification, and financial aid.

Email: elizabeth.puthoff [at]

Lois Hollis, Director of Member Services

Lois Hollis joined ICUT in January 2010 after 28 years at the Texas Higher education Coordinating Board, where she served as Assistant Commissioner for Student Services for seven years. In that role she oversaw all State financial aid programs and the ApplyTexas Common Admission Application, and worked closely with the State Legislature on affordability issues pertaining to college students. Lois is the point of contact for ICUT members in regard to cost-saving measures offered through group purchasing agreements. In addition, she coordinates annual affinity meetings and oversees the ICUT Efficiency Committee (E-Committee) and the ICUT Peer Consultation program. 

Email: lois.hollis [at]

Kelly Hyten, Director of the ICUT Foundation

Kelly Hyten joined ICUT in July 2017 with varied experience in the financial, legal, healthcare and higher education fields. As Chief of Staff, Kelly serves as senior advisor to the President and provides management support and direction on a variety of administrative, executive and financial duties as well as special projects. Kelly has the critical financial responsibility to ensure the efficient operation of ICUT and the ICUT Foundation.

Email: kelly.hyten [at]

Sam Rauschenfels, Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives

Sam Rauschenfels joined ICUT in June 2017, after completing a Master's in Education at The University of Texas at Austin. A native of Minnesota, Sam is a product of independent higher education, having completed a Bachelor's in Environmental Earth Sciences, with a minor in Film and Media, at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. Sam coordinates public relations and communications for ICUT, including monthly newsletters, ICUT-produced publications, and media outreach. He also works to develop and implement new initiatives for ICUT and the ICUT Foundation. 

Email: sam.rauschenfels [at]

Nancy Ward, Financial Consultant

Email: nancy.ward [at]