Greg Fenves Named Sole Finalist for UT President

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It’s a regime change, but not a radical one: Greg Fenves will, in all likelihood, be the 29th president of UT-Austin.

The announcement of Fenves as the sole finalist, which came at a Board of Regents meeting Friday morning, is the culmination of a six-month search. The vote was 5-3 in favor of Fenves, with Wallace Hall, Brenda Pejovich, and Alex Cranberg dissenting.

The other top candidates for the position were reportedly David Daniel, president of UT-Dallas; Andrew Hamilton, vice chancellor of Oxford University; and Joseph Steinmetz, executive vice president and provost of Ohio University. The search narrowed quickly this month when Hamilton accepted the position of president at New York University and Steinmetz withdrew his name from consideration.

UT president Bill Powers announced his resignation last July after then-System chancellor Francisco Cigarroa gave him a resign-or-be-fired ultimatum. That news came after years of discord between Powers and some members of the Board of Regents, most famously regent Wallace Hall.

Powers will step down on June 2.

Texas Exes president Kay Bailey Hutchison, LLB ’67, BA ’92, Life Member, Distinguished Alumna, praised the decision. “President Fenves will be a worthy successor to Bill Powers,” Hutchison said in a statement. “During his tenure at UT, he has led with distinction as dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering and as provost. He knows intimately the university’s strengths and what challenges it faces. He is well-placed to continue the work of making UT-Austin one of the top public teaching and research universities in the country.”

Fenves, who is 58, has been steadily rising through the ranks of higher education administration for more than three decades. He earned his undergraduate degree at Cornell University and his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of California, Berkeley. His research background is in structural engineering and earthquake engineering, including the use of wireless sensors to monitor the structural health of bridges.

From 1984-87, Fenves was an assistant professor of civil engineering at UT-Austin. Then he returned to Berkeley for 20 years, ending his time there as chair of the civil and environmental engineering department. Fenves was appointed dean of UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering in 2008. In that capacity, he recruited 57 faculty members and led efforts to raise funds for the Engineering Education and Research Center, for academic research, and for the school’s international and entrepreneurship programs. In 2013, Fenves became second in command at UT-Austin when he was named executive vice president and provost. As president Bill Powers’ right-hand man, he was closely involved in the launch of the Dell Medical School and in the university-wide effort to raise graduation rates.

Photo courtesy the Cockrell School of Engineering

 

 

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