As UT’s 29th President, Gregory L. Fenves prioritized student success and experiential learning, invested substantially in faculty members and their research, and strengthened interdisciplinary collaboration across the schools and colleges. Research funding and the number of federally funded Centers of Excellence reached historic highs at UT during his presidency. And President Fenves established scholarship programs and bolstered student resources and support, as UT increased its four-year graduation rates to the highest levels in the university’s history while significantly improving graduation outcomes for students from underrepresented backgrounds.
In 2018, President Fenves introduced the Texas Advance Commitment to increase affordability by providing assured financial aid for low- and middle-income UT students. In 2019, the UT System Board of Regents approved funding from the Permanent University Fund, which now ensures full tuition coverage at The University of Texas at Austin for in-state students with need from families earning up to $65,000 per year. In 2020, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation made a historic gift of $100 million to expand resources and support for all Pell Grant eligible students at UT.
Diversity and inclusion were cornerstones of President Fenves’ vision for the university. In 2015, his administration successfully defended UT’s admissions practices before the United States Supreme Court. The landmark ruling in the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case enabled UT to continue recruiting a diverse student body, reflective of a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.
President Fenves was instrumental in the founding of UT’s Dell Medical School — the first medical school in nearly 50 years to be built from the ground up at a top-tier research university — which graduated its inaugural class of physicians in 2020. UT Health Austin, the faculty clinical practice for Dell Med, helped lead UT’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as the university transitioned all instruction to distance learning in spring 2020.
President Fenves conceived of a unique public-private partnership, which led to the construction of UT’s new basketball arena and events venue — now known as Moody Center, because of a $130 million gift from the Moody Foundation — which is expected to open in 2022.
Prior to his presidency, Fenves served the university as executive vice president and provost (2013-2015) and dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering (2008-2013).