April 8, 2020
Dear UT Community,
We are writing you today with an important announcement about the leadership of the university.
This afternoon, University of Texas System Board of Regents Chairman Kevin Eltife announced that the Board and Chancellor James B. Milliken have selected Jay Hartzell — Dean of the McCombs School of Business — to become the interim President of The University of Texas at Austin.
We are grateful to Chairman Eltife, the members of the Board of Regents and Chancellor Milliken for acting swiftly and for continuing to provide such outstanding support for our students and our university.
This is a very challenging moment for our community. The COVID-19 crisis and its economic ramifications have created deep concern and uncertainty, and many of you are also trying to juggle challenging personal situations with work or school. Yet your resilience in the face of these difficult circumstances has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Students have pulled together to study, compare notes and help one another online. Faculty members have reimagined their classrooms and tailored their curriculums while teaching from home. Staff members have gone above and beyond to keep the university operating at every level to help our students successfully finish this semester. UT’s profound mission carries on because of each one of you.
The two of us have pledged to work together to ensure a smooth transition as we navigate the university during these unprecedented times. We will collaborate closely with a strong team of deans across campus, Senior Vice President and CFO Darrell Bazzell, Provost Maurie McInnis, interim Provost Dan Jaffe, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly and Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement Leonard Moore to best serve students, faculty members and staff members.
Dean Hartzell earned his Ph.D. at UT and has served on the Forty Acres since 2001, both as a faculty member and as an academic leader. As Dean of the McCombs School of Business, Jay launched the Goff Real Estate Labs, elevated the Canfield Business Honors program and opened Rowling Hall, the home of UT’s MBA program. He also helped create many significant partnerships with colleges and schools across campus, including the Dell Medical School, the College of Fine Arts, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Natural Sciences and the Moody College of Communication. And he established the position of Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at McCombs and the McCombs Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Jay is a dedicated Longhorn who understands the mission of our great university and the unmatched power it has to lead, inspire and change the world.
We will work diligently throughout these coming months to keep our students on track for graduation, and plan for a future when we can safely conduct research in our labs and libraries, host performances in our concert halls, browse our art galleries and collections, learn in our classrooms and, once again, open the Forty Acres to everyone. That’s a future we can all look forward to.
Gregory L. Fenves
Interim President Designate