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McCombs Business Dean Hartzell Named Interim President of UT Austin

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This news release was first published on the website of The University of Texas System.

AUSTIN, Texas — University of Texas System Board of Regents Chairman Kevin Eltife announced that the Board and Chancellor James B. Milliken have selected Dean Jay Hartzell of the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin to serve as the university’s interim president.

“We have observed Jay Hartzell’s outstanding leadership for years, and every member of our Board and the Chancellor have full confidence in Jay’s abilities to navigate UT Austin through this unprecedented time in the university’s and nation’s history,” Eltife said.

“Jay Hartzell is a Longhorn for life. Over the past 25 years, he has been a student, professor and academic leader on the Forty Acres and a leader nationally in business education and real estate finance. There is no one better suited to lead the flagship campus, inspire Longhorn Nation and move our university forward.”

“Dean Hartzell has done a superb job leading one of the largest colleges on campus, and he has built trusted relationships with faculty and students as well as with alumni and state leaders.   As Chairman Eltife and I spoke to Regents about candidates who could provide the strong interim leadership UT Austin needs today, it became quickly apparent that Jay had the confidence of everyone.  He is highly regarded on campus and off and is well positioned to lead the institution through these challenging times,” Milliken said.

Hartzell will take over for President Gregory L. Fenves who announced this week he will be leaving UT Austin to become president of Emory University in Atlanta. They will work together to ensure a continuity of leadership, create a smooth transition and support for students, faculty members and staff members, and continue with the ongoing strategic directions of the campus.

As McCombs dean, Hartzell has already been heavily involved in managing the university’s response to the spread of COVID-19 this spring.  He will lead those efforts campus-wide as interim president while also preparing for the 2021 legislative session and post-crisis planning.

Hartzell, 50, earned his Ph.D. in Finance from UT in 1998 and then returned in 2001 as a faculty member. He holds the Lois and Richard Folger Dean’s Leadership Chair, the Centennial Chair in Business Education Leadership, and the Trammell Crow Professorship in the McCombs School of Business.  He has developed collaborations with multiple schools, colleges and departments across campus, including Dell Medical School, the Department of Computer Science and the Moody College of Communication.

Hartzell served at various times as senior associate dean for academic affairs, executive director of the McCombs School’s Real Estate Finance and Investment Center, and chair of the Finance Department before becoming dean in 2016. He established McCombs’ one-year Master of Science in Finance degree, created the Undergraduate Real Estate Certificate Program, and oversaw the completion of the fundraising, construction and opening of Rowling Hall, the 500,000-square-foot graduate business facility.

“I am very grateful to Chairman Eltife, the Board of Regents and Chancellor Milliken for this opportunity to lead UT at such a crucial time,” Hartzell said. “The Forty Acres have been my home for most of my life and I look forward to working with our fantastic leadership team, alumni, faculty, staff and students to lead UT through today’s crisis and create an even brighter future for this great university.”