By Aria Jones, Texas Tribune
Jay Hartzell officially became president of the University of Texas at Austin on Wednesday.
The University of Texas System’s Board of Regents unanimously voted to make Hartzell president of the university after naming him the sole finalist for president in August.
“In a year that has brought us the pandemic and a host of other issues, I believe we have something to be excited about, that Jay Hartzell, a lifelong Longhorn and a world-class academic scholar, will be leading the 40 Acres,” said Kevin Eltife, chair of the Board of Regents, during Wednesday’s virtual meeting.
Hartzell, former dean of the UT-Austin business school, stepped into the role of interim president in April after former President Greg Fenves stepped down. Fenves was university president for five years before leaving to lead Emory University in Atlanta.
“When the office of president became available during the middle of the pandemic crisis, the board of regents knew we needed a strong leader to step in as interim, and without question, the first person that came to mind was Jay Hartzell,” Eltife said. “Seeing President Hartzell work and provide leadership during his time as interim president over the past few months compelled this board to name him the sole finalist for the job. “
The board approved an annual salary of $795,000 for Hartzell as interim president in June. Fenves earned $762,220 as university president in 2018.
Jay Hartzell sat down with CNN Anchor Bianna Golodryga at The Texas Tribune Festival for an interview on how he’s leading the iconic campus in a time of disruption and uncertainty.
“Jay jumped in with both feet, and Jay has two ears and one mouth, which means he listens more than he talks,” regent Jodie Lee Jiles said.
Jiles said Hartzell has done a good job of understanding the university and addressing the major issues of racial equity and the pandemic, while also addressing other academic activities.
“As as great Texan would say, his plate was clearly full from the beginning,” Jiles said.