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A Message from President Harroz: Announcing the Senior Vice President and Provost for the Norman Campus

April 29, 2021

Dear OU Community,

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. André-Denis Wright as the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus Senior Vice President and Provost. Pending OU Board of Regents’ approval, Dr. Wright will join us July 1. Dr. Wright is an accomplished microbiologist and proven administrative leader. He comes to us from Washington State University, where he currently serves as Dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. He brings to us a unique balance of professional experiences that are sure to aid him in his role as the OU Norman campus’ chief academic officer.

Please join me in expressing our profound appreciation to Dr. Jill Irvine for her faithful leadership and dedication as Interim Senior Vice President and Provost of the Norman campus. Her unwavering commitment to our scholarly mission and our academic community has proved instrumental through our emergence from the pandemic and during this transition period.

My sincerest thanks also extend to Dr. David Surratt and Dean David Wrobel for spearheading a thorough national search, which attracted 55 highly qualified applicants. We are also deeply grateful to the members of our search committee – made up of 11 members representing Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, Student Government, alumni, and faculty-at-large – who invited five semifinalists to participate in virtual forums with members of the OU community. This process entailed conducting a range of interviews and job talks for each candidate. The exhaustive search solicited feedback from all three of our campuses, with responses from more than 400 faculty and staff participants following the virtual forums. Dr. Wright was the overwhelming top choice to emerge from our formal search process, and he has received a strong endorsement from the Faculty Senate leadership.

In Dr. Wright’s current role as dean, he oversees one of the largest and most diverse colleges at Washington State. The breadth of his portfolio is wide, including leadership of 15 schools and departments within the natural and human sciences that serve more than 3,100 students; approximately 1,250 faculty and staff across nearly 50 locations; a $196 million budget; a tribal office; and four research and extension centers across Washington state.

Before arriving at Washington State, Dr. Wright served at the University of Arizona as an endowed chair and director of the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences, where he managed a budget of $10.2 million and led more than 100 faculty and staff. Prior to his time in Arizona, he served as a department chair and professor of animal science at the University of Vermont, a role in which he was able to partner with medical faculty on clinical research.

Dr. Wright began his academic career in Perth, Australia, where he spent more than a decade working for the country’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. He began as a post-doctoral fellow and ultimately rose to the position of Principal Research Scientist while also training graduate students at Murdoch University and the University of Queensland.

A native of Canada, Dr. Wright earned his B.S. in biology from Saint Mary’s University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Guelph. He has published over 110 peer-reviewed papers, contributed 18 book chapters, and delivered more than 40 lectures in 10 different countries.

I’m confident that Dr. Wright’s range of experience will provide essential leadership in our efforts to achieve our university’s Strategic Plan.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Wright to the OU family.

Live On, University,

Joseph Harroz, Jr.