Former Cockrell School Dean Gregory L. Fenves Named President of UT Austin

The University of Texas System Board of Regents has named Gregory L. Fenves the next president of The University of Texas at Austin. Fenves will assume the role leading the UT System’s flagship university on June 3.

The regents approved the appointment at a special called board meeting Monday, April 20. Fenves was selected as sole finalist for the position at a Board of Regents meeting last month.

Fenves will replace President Bill Powers, who will step down June 2 after serving a nine-year tenure.

“This is a new chapter in UT Austin’s proud history and we are excited to have a scholar and leader of Dr. Fenves’ caliber who is primed and ready to lead the university’s quest to be the finest public research institution in the world,” said Board Chairman Paul Foster. “We welcome him as our newest president and look forward to accomplishing great things together.”

Fenves thanked both UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven and the Board of Regents.

“I am deeply honored that The University of Texas System Board of Regents and Chancellor William McRaven have put their faith in me to lead The University of Texas at Austin as the next president,” Fenves said. “There are tremendous opportunities for our great university, and I will work hard every day to realize our state’s constitutional goal of ‘a university of the first class’.”

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.

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 could not be more proud to welcome Dr. Fenves as UT Austin’s next president,” said McRaven, who served on the presidential search advisory committee. “This is one of the most important decisions this Board of Regents will ever make and I have no doubt they have selected the right person for this very important job. Greg is a brilliant academic and a charismatic leader and his commitment and dedication to UT Austin runs as deep as my own.”

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.

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