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Joseph Harroz Jr. Named 15th OU President

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May 9, 2020

Joseph Harroz Jr. Named 15th OU President

Message from President Harroz

A message from President Harroz to the OU family on his first day in office.


The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents unanimously voted to name Joseph Harroz Jr. the university’s 15th president on May 9. Harroz, formerly the dean of the OU College of Law, has served as interim president since May 2019.

“This is more than a promotion or a dream job to me,” Harroz said. “It’s a chance to pay back the debt I owe our university. OU changes lives every day. I know firsthand because it changed mine. I wouldn’t be who I am if not for the education my father – the son of Lebanese immigrants – received at OU, and the education that I also received from this extraordinary institution.”

A native Oklahoman, Harroz earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from OU in 1989, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and a juris doctorate from Georgetown University in 1992. Harroz rejoined the University of Oklahoma in 1994, the beginning of nearly 25 years of service to the university. He served first as vice president for executive affairs and then for 12 years as general counsel, the chief legal counsel to the president, the OU Board of Regents, Rogers State University and Cameron University.

In 2008, Harroz became president of a publicly traded health care company, growing its market capitalization to more than $80 million, before returning to OU in 2010 as the dean and director of the OU Law Center and Fenelon Boesche Chair of Law. Harroz has taught law for more than two decades, focusing on employment, sports and health care law.

Throughout his nine-year tenure as dean, the OU College of Law earned record national recognition, including the highest-ever U.S. News & World Report ranking by any Oklahoma law school and the first law school in the nation to achieve Apple Distinguished School status (Apple, Inc.). Under Harroz, National Jurist Magazine named OU Law one of the nation’s “Best Value Law Schools” for 10 consecutive years, and its graduates consistently led the state in bar exam passage rates. In addition, his fundraising efforts more than tripled the size of the college’s scholarship endowment and expanded the annual amount of scholarship money given to students to more than $1.5 million.

At OU Law, Harroz also led efforts to create new joint degree and certificate programs to enhance the J.D., instituted a pro bono service commitment for all law students and launched the nation’s first-ever law school Digital Initiative, preparing students for success in the 21st century legal profession.

“I count it an immense privilege to serve my alma mater and our state’s flagship public research university as its president,” Harroz said. “Throughout its 130-year history, OU has been a beacon of excellence and opportunity. As President, I pledge to work tirelessly with you – our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends – to be worthy of our extraordinary legacy. Together, we can realize the full potential of our Purpose to change the lives of each next generation of students and to impact the world through what we discover and create.”

Harroz is father to Joseph, Zara and Jude and partner to Ashley Tate.