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UT News

James E. Davis Named Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

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AUSTIN, Texas — University of Texas at Austin President Jay Hartzell announces that James E. Davis has been named senior vice president and chief operating officer (SVP and COO).

As part of President Hartzell’s vision that UT Austin be the highest-impact public research university in the world, he unified the teams that develop, construct, maintain and operate university real estate, intellectual property, buildings, grounds, infrastructure, student housing and business services under Davis as SVP and COO. Davis is charged with marshalling these university resources to unlock impact and drive the strategic mission of UT.

In his prior role as vice president for legal affairs and business strategies, Davis delivered on important outcomes for the University. As general counsel, Davis led the legal strategies on the development of the Moody Center, Innovation Tower, and UT’s entry into the SEC Athletic Conference. As the head of the Business Strategies team, under Hartzell’s leadership, Davis initiated the planning for multiple innovation districts on off-campus land, established the University’s first seed investment fund for startup companies based on faculty discoveries, acquired and defined the University’s first faculty housing solution, devised and implemented a public-private partnership solution for a new graduate student housing development, and shaped the first student housing scholarship fund sourced from rent revenue.

“Jim has shown an exceptional ability to lead, including building great teams with positive cultures, solving hard problems creatively, and focusing on the University’s strategic goals and priorities,” Hartzell said. “A key part of our leadership team, he has helped the university bring even more of our discoveries to the world, and to better deploy all of our resources for the benefit of our mission. Jim practically grew up on the Forty Acres as the son of a Radio-Television-Film Department chair and has brought the embedded passion of a life-long Longhorn to his work over the last five years with the University. We are grateful for his continued service and commitment, and we know this expanded role will help advance our vision to make The University of Texas at Austin the highest-impact public research university.”

“UT Austin employs extraordinary people who work together every day to provide a first-class campus experience for our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, and uniting our collective talent under a shared strategic vision makes our University even stronger,” Davis said. “This is the start of another exciting chapter for UT, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to work alongside this outstanding team.”

Davis is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and Harvard Law School. Prior to attending college, he served in the U.S. Navy as a cryptologist stationed in Scotland.