Skip Navigation

Letter from Interim President, Joe Harroz

Office of the Interim President

Joseph Harroz Jr.

Friday, May 17, 2019


Dear OU family,

I am honored to have this new opportunity to serve the institution we love. Together, we can unite the OU family to build the OU of the future. Together, we can rally behind the institution and build on our tradition of excellence to make OU better than ever.

Our mission is sacred. There is nothing more noble than creating opportunity for the next generation, passing down and discovering new knowledge, and inspiring an ethic of service and civic responsibility. What makes OU great is the dedication of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni in the pursuit of this mission. What makes OU such a special place are the shared values that let us dream and achieve together: love and respect for all, and a relentless commitment to excellence.

We all know that we have been in the midst of a challenging transition and that we still face challenges. There is still work to be done. We will be resolute in seeing it through. 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. We have to be good stewards of our resources so that we can focus on our mission. I am confident that we can overcome all of the challenges we face – together.

We already have a collective sense of the priorities we have to address:

  • Thoughtfully and decisively solve the institution’s financial challenges so that we can move forward with a positive focus on our mission and remain affordable and accessible;
  • Make diversity and inclusion a strength of OU, facing head-on the challenges we have around race and ethnicity and ensuring that each and every individual is valued;
  • Continue to define and pursue a new level of excellence and impact in research and creative activity;
  • Invest in our Health Sciences Center to make OU the provider of choice for health care in Oklahoma; and
  • Expand educational opportunities and the OU brand across Oklahoma and the world.

Leaders change, but the mission never does. We are here to create a culture of excellence and opportunity for our students. We aspire to increase the impact of our research and creative activity. We strive to be the standard of excellence in medical care for the state of Oklahoma. We are dedicated to helping Oklahoma thrive. In so many ways, we have great momentum. Make no mistake: we are going to continue moving forward, boldly and decisively, and with a sense of joy and optimism.

You are the heart and soul of this great institution. I look forward to working with our talented and dedicated staff. I look forward to supporting our world-class faculty. I look forward to empowering our amazing students, both undergraduate and graduate. I look forward to partnering with the most generous, caring, and loyal alumni family in the world. I am asking for your support and for the opportunity to earn your trust in this new phase of my service at OU. I promise to listen, and I promise to give everything I have to our mission. We are going to accomplish great things. Please look forward to great news in the weeks ahead, and I am excited to work together.


Joseph Harroz, Jr.
Interim President, University of Oklahoma