Jay Hartzell named sole finalist for UT-Austin president

University of Texas at Austin Interim President Jay Hartzell has been named sole finalist for president. Credit: Eddie Gaspar/The Daily Texan

By Reese Oxner, Texas Tribune

The University of Texas System’s Board of Regents unanimously named Jay Hartzell the sole finalist for president of its flagship university on Tuesday.

Hartzell, former dean of the University of Texas at Austin’s business school, was named interim president in April after former president Greg Fenves stepped down. Fenves served five years at the helm at UT-Austin and is now president of Emory University in Atlanta.

“His work has been outstanding in these critical times that we’re facing. We’ve heard positive comments from members of the university community and the public about his effectiveness in his role,” Regents board Chairman Kevin Eltife said during Tuesday’s virtual meeting.

The board typically conducts a national search and appoints a presidential search advisory committee to select a president of an institution, but in this case the board invoked an alternative selection process. Eltife will appoint a committee to offer advice and evaluation on the sole finalist.

The Board of Regents approved an annual salary of $795,000 in June for Hartzell as interim president. In 2018, Fenves earned $762,220 as UT-Austin’s president.

Hartzell has a challenging semester ahead of him as leader of UT-Austin, overseeing the university’s pandemic response this fall and addressing calls from students and faculty about the racial inequity on campus.

“Leading The University of Texas as interim president has been an incredible honor, and I am equally honored to be named the sole finalist to lead this great university into the future,” Hartzell said in a statement after the board’s decision. “I look forward to serving my alma mater any way I can as we seek to overcome today’s challenges.”