The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents Friday named Joseph Harroz Jr., dean of OU College of Law, as interim president effective immediately. Harroz will assume all duties and responsibilities associated with the Office of the President for at least 15 months, until a permanent president is selected.
That same day, Harroz attended a series of meetings with key internal groups including leadership of the Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, the executive team and student leaders who remained on campus after Commencement.
OU Board of Regents Chairman Leslie J. Rainbolt-Forbes said, “Joe’s nationally recognized leadership of the OU College of Law and his many years of service as Vice President of Executive Affairs and General Counsel give him an unequalled understanding of our institution and position him well to lead OU’s future."
“He is an excellent choice for interim president,” said George Henderson, professor emeritus of OU. “Put simply: he is a proven administrator, a visionary leader, an advocate for academic freedom and a firm believer in excellence in teaching, research and public service. He also understands and supports the university’s commitment to being an equal opportunity institution.”
“Joseph Harroz’s reputation as a respected colleague and administrator precedes him, and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee shares his palpable enthusiasm for the future of the University,” said Joshua Nelson, Faculty Senate chair. “He has signaled his recognition that the best path into the future takes us also through the past, to the university’s defining and foundational values of excellence in education and research, academic freedom, shared governance, transparency, diversity, equity, and inclusion. We look forward to putting these principles into action alongside President Harroz as we take up the challenges and opportunities of the coming year.”
“I am honored to have this new opportunity to serve the institution that I love. Together, we can unite the OU family and build on our tradition of excellence to make OU better than ever,” said Harroz. “We are committed to building a far more diverse and inclusive OU; nothing else we do will succeed unless we accomplish real change, together. We have to continue building a culture of integrity and be good stewards of our resources so that we can focus on our mission.”
For 10 consecutive years, National Jurist magazine has named OU Law a Best Value Law School in the nation and has ranked the college in the Top 10 the last two years. Under Harroz’s leadership, employment after graduation has outpaced the national average by 5%, coming in at 93.6% of students employed within 10 months of graduation. OU Law’s Digital Initiative and technology initiatives have earned national recognition, including being named an Apple Distinguished School by Apple Inc. OU recently was recognized as one of the top law schools in the nation for international law by National Jurist’s preLaw Magazine, and the college also recently won the Federal Bar Association Moot Court Competition, marking the fourth national competition championship for OU Law in the last two years. Since 2010, OU Law has more than tripled the amount of its scholarship endowment, and in 2018 the college raised more than $1.7 million in gifts.
Harroz, a native Oklahoman, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from OU with a bachelor’s of arts degree in economics. He then earned his juris doctorate from the Georgetown University Law Center. Following a role as a legislative director in Washington D.C., he returned to Oklahoma and joined the practice of Crowe and Dunlevy, practicing commercial litigation. In 1994, he joined OU as vice president of executive affairs. Two years later, he served as general counsel. His 12-year tenure in the position is the longest in the history of the university.
From 2008 to 2010 Harroz was president of a publicly traded healthcare company before returning to his alma mater in 2010 to serve as 12th dean of the OU College of Law.
“I am eager to work with the Board and appreciate the time, dedication and support President Gallogly has shown to enable a smooth transition,” said Harroz.
“We thank Jim [Gallogly] for his support during this transition and look forward to working with Joe as interim president knowing that he can immediately step in and be effective in advancing OU’s mission while continuing to build on its now solid financial foundation,” Rainbolt-Forbes added.
The OU Board of Regents has not yet set a date to initiate the search process for the new president. The interim appointment is for at least 15 months. Harroz will be considered for the permanent position.
Article Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2019