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Fenves named finalist for president of The University of Texas at Austin

AUSTIN—The University of Texas System Board of Regents has named Gregory L. Fenves the sole finalist for the presidency of The University of Texas at Austin.

The regents voted to select Fenves at a special board meeting Friday. The decision followed an executive session where regents considered potential candidates and the recommendations of a presidential search advisory committee that reviewed nominations and applications for the position. The regents met earlier this month to interview candidates to succeed William C. Powers as president. Powers will step down in June after serving a nine-year tenure.   

Fenves has served as UT Austin’s provost and executive vice president since 2013. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the highest national honor awarded to engineers in the United States. Prior to being named provost, Fenves served for five years as dean of UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering. With more than 7,500 students and research expenditures exceeding $160 million a year, the Cockrell School is a top-10 ranked engineering school with nine internationally recognized undergraduate programs and 13 acclaimed graduate degree programs.

Before coming to UT Austin, Fenves, 58, served as chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was on the faculty for more than 20 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Cornell and his doctorate at UC Berkeley. He began his career as an assistant professor in civil engineering at UT Austin from 1984-87. 

“I want to thank the regents for their careful deliberation on this very important decision,” said UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven. “We had an extremely impressive slate of candidates to consider and I believe we’ve made the right choice for UT Austin, its students, faculty and staff. Greg brings a formidable intellect and charismatic and strategic leadership to the position. UT Austin is one of the finest public research universities in the world and it deserves exceptional leadership, vision and an innovative spirit. I have no doubt that Greg brings all those to the table and I am excited to work with him to continue to support and advance the important work taking place at my alma mater.”

Fenves is an internationally recognized structural engineer whose research is focused on computational simulation of structures during earthquakes and technology for earthquake engineering. He led the development of an open-source software platform in structural and geotechnical engineering that has been widely used in universities and industry across the world. 

“I am humbled and tremendously excited to be selected as the sole finalist for president of The University of Texas at Austin,” Fenves said. “UT Austin is unmatched in its potential to educate and inspire leaders. I would be honored to lead this university and work with the Chancellor, Board of Regents and all Longhorns and partners across Texas and the nation.” 

During his time as provost, Fenves has overseen much of the administrative progress for the creation of the Dell Medical School. He also launched a “Campus Conversation” intended to redefine the residential college experience in the 21st Century by identifying the essential learning elements of a high quality degree and increasing the role of student discovery and research in undergraduate education.

As dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering, Fenves recruited 57 new engineering faculty, raised more than $300 million for the university’s $3.1 billion Campaign for Texas, and successfully led efforts to build the Cockrell School’s Engineering Education and Research Center—a state-of-the-art facility slated to open in 2017—which will be dedicated to interdisciplinary research and hands-on student projects.

“I am confident that Greg Fenves is the right person to lead UT Austin as we continue to position this great flagship university to be among the best in the world at teaching and research,” said Board Chairman Paul Foster. “Dr. Fenves is a gifted administrator and academician who has had a stellar record of leadership at two of America’s top public research universities. His passion for and dedication to UT Austin were evident in his interview and I am thrilled to begin this new chapter with him at the helm.”

Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for a presidency at least 21 days before making an appointment. During that time, UT System leaders will be coordinating meetings, giving stakeholders the opportunity to hear from Fenves.

Fenves and his wife Carmel Martinez Fenves live in Austin and have two adult daughters.

About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and an enrollment of more than 214,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $15.6 billion (FY 2015) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 90,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state. For more information, visit