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About the President

About the President

Joe Harroz Jr., University of Oklahoma President

Joseph Harroz, Jr.
University President

Serving the University of Oklahoma for over 27 years in various leadership roles, Joseph Harroz Jr. was named the 15th president of OU on May 9, 2020. Harroz’s previous service to the university includes a one-year term as interim president, nine years as dean of the College of Law, 12 years as general counsel, and two years as vice president for executive affairs.

As president of OU, Harroz led the development of the university’s Strategic Plan – a comprehensive strategy that positions OU as one of the nation’s leading public research universities marked by a transformative student experience. At the heart of the Plan is the university’s fundamental purpose – We Change Lives – three small but powerful words that carry deep meaning. The complete Strategic Plan is available at

Under Harroz’s leadership, OU is making remarkable strides toward the fulfillment of the Strategic Plan. This marks the third consecutive year for OU to have record-breaking freshman classes. With nearly 5,200 students, the Class of 2027’s record-setting size represents an 11% increase in new students over last year. The class is also breaking other university records, with the largest percentage of first-generation students and more underrepresented students than any other incoming class. Research at OU continues to shatter records, recently setting all-time highs for research expenditures ($416.6 million university-wide for FY22 – an 8% increase from FY21) and sponsored research awards ($210.4 million on the Norman campus for FY23 – a nearly 33% increase from the previous fiscal year).

Supporting Oklahoma’s workforce is another key priority of the Strategic Plan. In recent years, OU has significantly expanded student enrollment in several key academic areas to support the state’s workforce demands, such as nursing, aviation, and engineering. Enrollment in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program has increased 73% compared to fall 2020, and across all Health Sciences academic programs, new student enrollment is up 16% over last year. OU has also expanded its top-ranked aviation program to meet growing workforce demands. Compared to last academic year, freshman enrollment in aviation programs has more than doubled, and the school’s total enrollment has grown 48%. OU aims to increase enrollment in aviation programs to 600 students within the next four years. The OU Polytechnic Institute at OU-Tulsa will officially open its doors in Fall 2024, with plans to offer bachelor’s degree completion and graduate programs in critical STEM fields. From cutting-edge curriculum to on-site training, the OU Polytechnic Institute will help meet the changing academic and workforce needs of the Tulsa region.

In Fall 2022, OU embarked on the largest philanthropic campaign in the history of Oklahoma higher education. With a historic goal of raising $2 billion, “Lead On: The University of Oklahoma’s Campaign for the Future” builds upon OU’s core traditions while striving to reach new heights of excellence. In alignment with the university’s Strategic Plan, the campaign prioritizes increasing access through enhanced student support and programming, fostering faculty growth, creating research opportunities, and encouraging a welcoming campus culture.

An abundance of other successes have come to life since the Strategic Plan’s launch three years ago – the addition of premier freshman housing; the merger to create OU Health, Oklahoma’s first fully integrated academic health system; joining the SEC; and more. Altogether, these endeavors are sparking a new era of excellence at OU.

A native Oklahoman, Harroz graduated Phi Beta Kappa from OU in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and a minor in zoology. He earned his J.D. in 1992 from Georgetown University Law Center. A grandson of Lebanese immigrants to Oklahoma, Harroz is father to Joseph, Zara, and Jude, and is married to Ashley Harroz.