AUSTIN, Texas — President Gregory L. Fenves will step down this summer as the 29th president of The University of Texas at Austin. He will remain in the post through June 30 and continue to lead the university’s response to the spread of COVID-19 during that time.
“I am proud and honored to have served as dean of engineering, provost and, for the past five years, president of UT. I am grateful for the trust you placed in me as leader of this great university that improves the lives of Texans and changes the world every day,” Fenves wrote in a letter to UT students, staff members, faculty members and alumni.
He wrote that the job of a university president is multifaceted and often comes to a natural end. He decided early this year to conclude his tenure at UT. Fenves this morning was named president of Emory University in Atlanta, and he has spoken with UT System Board of Regents Chairman Kevin Eltife and Chancellor James B. Milliken about his decision.
“President Fenves’ vison and leadership have made our flagship university even stronger and changed the lives of thousands of young Texans,” Eltife said. “On behalf of the Board of Regents and the State of Texas, I thank Greg for being a great Longhorn and true partner. He opened a new medical school, steered us through challenging times and made the Forty Acres more accessible and affordable for highly qualified Texas students. Thanks to his efforts, the value of a UT Austin degree has never been higher, and our graduates have never contributed more to the state.”
“President Fenves has been a passionate leader and an effective advocate for The University of Texas at Austin,” Milliken said. “As dean, provost and president, he has worked tirelessly to advance the interests of the flagship campus and to support its students, faculty and staff. Longhorn Nation will miss Greg and Carmel and their enthusiastic embrace of all things UT, and we wish them all the best in their next chapter.”
“The timing of this news in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic is not what I had expected or wanted,” Fenves wrote. “Our dedicated faculty and staff have striven to make the spring 2020 semester meaningful for our students. I want you to understand that I remain singularly focused on continuing that work, completing the semester and getting our community back to normal before my presidency ends on June 30.”
Fenves began his academic career at UT as an engineering professor in the 1980s. He returned in 2008 to serve as dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering and then as university provost before he was named president in 2015. During his tenure, UT has launched the Dell Medical School, increased the four-year graduation rate to nearly 70%, improved support for middle- and low-income students and successfully defended the educational benefits of diversity before the U.S. Supreme Court.
“To our students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters: I will forever be indebted that I had the opportunity to serve as your president and have a role in the long and storied history of The University of Texas,” Fenves wrote.