Gregory L. Fenves
Gregory L. Fenves became president of Emory University on August 1, 2020. He previously served a 12-year term as president of the University of Texas (UT) at Austin.
Under his leadership, UT-Austin recruited world-class faculty, broadened cross-disciplinary research and significantly increased extramural research funding. Fenves also strengthened graduate education and resources; 48 graduate programs at the university rank in the top 10 nationally.
Fenves’ goal throughout his tenure was to improve student success at UT Austin and beyond graduation. In his years as president, he helped raise the university’s retention and four-year graduation rates to record levels by spearheading innovative student-success programs and increasing resources for students.
Working with the UT System Board of Regents and through astute management of generous philanthropic gifts, he made substantial new financial commitments that covered tuition and fees for students from low- and middle-income families and wrap-around support services for Pell Grant students. He also worked closely with state leaders in Texas to increase financial support for the university.
A core priority for Fenves was diversity and inclusion among the UT Austin community, beginning with the successful defense of the use of race and ethnicity as a factor in admission decisions in the 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. That landmark decision upheld the educational benefits of diversity in higher education. A comprehensive diversity-and-inclusion action plan has guided the university in regard to faculty, students and the community.
Fenves earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of California (UC), Berkeley, all in civil engineering.
He began his academic career as an assistant professor in UT Austin’s civil engineering department in 1984. Four years later, Fenves returned to UC Berkeley, where he was on the faculty for 20 years and became an internationally renowned expert on structural engineering for earthquakes. He chaired UC Berkeley’s department of civil and environmental engineering.
Fenves returned to UT Austin in 2008 to become dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. Subsequent to his successful tenure as dean, Fenves was recruited to the position of provost at UT Austin in 2013 and in 2015 was appointed president.
For his groundbreaking research in earthquake engineering and academic leadership, Fenves was elected in 2014 to the National Academy of Engineering, the highest recognition for an engineer in the United States. He has received numerous national awards, including the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, the Walter L. Huber Research Prize, the Moisseiff Award, and the J. James R. Croes Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers.