Serving the University of Oklahoma for over 25 years in various leadership roles, Joseph Harroz Jr. was named the 15th president of OU on May 9, 2020. Harroz’s previous service to the university includes a one-year term as interim president, nine years as dean of the College of Law, twelve years as general counsel, and two years as vice president for executive affairs.
As president of OU, Harroz 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. At the heart of the plan is the university’s fundamental purpose – We Change Lives – three small but powerful words that carry deep meaning. The complete Strategic Plan is available at ou.edu/leadon.
Under Harroz’s leadership, OU is making strides toward the fulfillment of the Strategic Plan. In fall 2021, OU welcomed its largest, most diverse, and highest academically qualified class in the school’s 131-year history – a quarter of whom are first-generation college students. OU’s research landscape has progressed tremendously in the past year, with OU reaching a record-high $445.9 million in research awards earned through grants and external funding by OU faculty and staff. Oklahoma health care is taking a major step forward with the historic merger formalized between OU and University Hospitals Authority and Trust on July 1, 2021, to join their clinics and hospitals into Oklahoma’s first comprehensive academic health system – OU Health – offering a seamless patient experience with improved outcomes, research-driven care, and access to the latest treatments found nowhere else in the state. The university’s move to join the Southeastern Conference in 2025 will sustain OU’s tradition of national-caliber athletics excellence, strengthen the university as a whole, and serve the wider interests of the state of Oklahoma.
Throughout his term as dean of OU Law, the college earned 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 from Apple, Inc.
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. A grandson of Lebanese immigrants to Oklahoma, Harroz is father to Joseph, Zara, and Jude, and is married to Ashley Harroz.