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OU to Celebrate the Inauguration of President Joseph Harroz Jr.

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July 23, 2021

OU to Celebrate the Inauguration of President Joseph Harroz Jr.

NORMAN, OKLA. – This fall, the University of Oklahoma will proudly celebrate the inauguration of Joseph Harroz Jr. as the university’s 15th president in a number of events designed to showcase the unique OU spirit and the university’s bright future. The entire OU community is invited to participate.

The inauguration will stand as a ceremonial marker of Harroz’s presidency, which began May 9, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting the postponement of celebratory events. 

Leading off the inauguration festivities will be a celebration dinner on Thursday, Sept. 16, in the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom of Oklahoma Memorial Union. 

The inauguration ceremony is set for 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 17, at the Lloyd Noble Center. A livestream link to the ceremony will also be available at, and the worldwide OU family is encouraged to gather online for the historic event.

A university celebration will follow the inauguration at 11:30 a.m. on the South Oval. Tours of Boyd House, the official residence of the university president, will be held from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. 

The inauguration events will take place on the eve of the much-anticipated football matchup between OU and Nebraska – a renewal of one of college football’s greatest rivalries being held on the 50th anniversary of the “Game of the Century.”  

All inauguration events are open to the entire OU community and the public; however, reservations for the Thursday evening celebration dinner will be required, as limited seating will be available.

“The University of Oklahoma is incredibly fortunate to have a visionary leader at the helm like Joe Harroz, whose first year as OU president has been anything but normal,” said Michael A. Cawley, chair of the OU Board of Regents. “President Harroz’s steady leadership during these unprecedented times demonstrates not only his unwavering devotion to the university’s collective well-being, but also his tireless commitment to champion OU to new levels of excellence. We look forward to celebrating his exceptional service and leadership at his inauguration.”    

Prior to his being unanimously selected by the Regents in May 2020 to serve as OU’s president, Harroz had served the university for over 25 years in various leadership roles, including a one-year term as interim president, nine years as dean of the College of Law and 12 years as general counsel. 

As president of OU, Harroz has 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. Under Harroz’s leadership, OU is making strides on a number of fronts toward the fulfillment of the strategic plan. Student success and access to a world-class education underlie the entire plan, and last fall OU welcomed its third-largest freshman class ever – 35% of whom represent historically underrepresented groups, and 22% of whom are first-generation students. 

The strategic plan recognizes OU’s important obligation to fuel economic growth and foster new discoveries. OU’s research landscape has progressed tremendously in the past year, with OU reaching a record-high $445.9 million in research awards last fiscal year. The recent merger between OU and University Hospitals Authority and Trust to create Oklahoma’s first comprehensive academic health system – OU Health – is a milestone achievement that will significantly advance health care in Oklahoma. Last summer’s launch of OU Online – a central division to deliver OU’s online graduate degree programs – expands on the university’s success in the online education space to offer graduate degrees that are specifically designed to serve an economic need for Oklahoma and the world.

Harroz’s tenure thus far has also been marked by significant administrative refinement. For the first time in nearly a generation, OU is operating with a multi-year budget, providing a sustainable path to support the university’s vision and goals. Earlier this year, the university’s fundraising function transitioned to the OU Foundation, providing the structure to adopt a best practice model that mirrors peer institutions while creating an unrivaled fundraising operation that will support the strategic plan.   


As OU president, Harroz has championed the university’s role as Oklahoma’s flagship institution to work alongside the business community and federal, state, tribal and private sector partners to fuel economic growth. As a result of these deliberate efforts to shape a united vision for the state’s future, this past legislative session, the Oklahoma Legislature designated the most state funding for the benefit of OU in nearly 20 years. In the Legislature’s fiscal year 2022 budget, the university will receive funding earmarked for a number of initiatives, including the development of a secure innovation research center in cooperation with Tinker Air Force Base and Fort Sill, and appropriations toward the state’s matching funds for endowed chair positions.

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.

More information about the inauguration is forthcoming and will be available at For accommodations, email or call (405) 325-1701. 



About the University of Oklahoma 

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit