Chancellor Milliken’s Remarks at the Induction of UT Arlington President Dr. Jennifer Cowley
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Thank you, Dr. Brown, for that kind introduction.
Good afternoon, Mavericks!
It is a delight and an honor to join all of you here as we formally welcome Dr. Jennifer Cowley as the University of Texas at Arlington’s 10th president.
The appointment of President Cowley comes after a search for the right leader to build upon UTA’s history of success and guide it into the future.
Our search committee found someone who not only has strong academic and leadership credentials, but also a unique connection to this community and this university. An Arlington native, Jennifer graduated from nearby Martin High School, and grew up attending summer camps and classes at UTA. Her parents, Paul and Jan, still live in Arlington and are here with us today.
Dr. Cowley began the track to her impressive career in academia at Texas A&M University, where she earned a Ph.D. in urban and regional science, a master’s degree in urban planning, and a bachelor’s degree in political science. She went on to earn master’s degrees in interdisciplinary studies and public administration from the University of North Texas as well.
Dr. Cowley worked in city government in Amarillo and College Station before becoming a professor at Ohio State University. During her 16 years there, she took on leadership roles, ultimately serving as a vice provost. She then moved back to Texas, serving as Provost for the University of North Texas for five years, when our search committee discovered she was a perfect fit for UT Arlington.
Today we officially welcome Dr. Cowley home to a community and a university that have grown and changed as much as Jennifer since she finished high school here in the early 1990s.
As an academic, Dr. Cowley is a respected expert in urban and regional planning. Smart Cities are a passion project, reflected in her research that is forward-looking, technology-driven and embraces the idea that today’s cities will look vastly different in the future.
I don’t think I can overstate how impactful this expertise can be for this growing university, for Arlington and for the bustling Dallas-Fort Worth region.
Dr. Cowley and her family witnessed incredible growth in their hometown – with Arlington adding more than 70,000 residents in the last 20 years, while transforming into a world class hub for entertainment, recreation and education.
UT Arlington has also grown tremendously, too – adding nearly 10,000 students over the last decade and earning designation as a Carnegie Tier 1 Research Institution.
Dr. Cowley’s ability to envision the future and embrace technology clearly resonated with our search committee and, as the first woman to lead UT Arlington, she is an inspiration.
In just the few short months she’s been on UTA’s campus, we’ve also witnessed Dr. Cowley’s tireless energy and passion as she has immersed herself in this university’s community.
In her first 100 days at UTA, Jennifer attended more than 100 events – and our social media feeds have seen a steady flow of photos with the new president dressed head-to-toe in Mavericks orange and blue – meeting and interacting with the campus community. Her spirit is infectious.
When it comes to leadership, Dr. Cowley knows how to translate ideas into reality; how to transform vision into action.
She has established five strategic themes: 1) People and Culture, 2) Student Success, 3) Alumni and Community Engagement, 4) Research and Innovation, and 5) Finance and Infrastructure.
This strategic approach to leadership incorporates input from the UT Arlington administration, faculty and staff, alumni and, most importantly, by students, whose own dreams, skills and ideas, formed here on this campus, will shape our world for the better.
So, it is my immense pleasure to share this historic moment with the Maverick community, and it is my honor to formally welcome Dr. Jennifer Cowley as the 10th president of the University of Texas at Arlington through the presentation of the University mace – a tradition that dates back to the European Middle Ages.
Today, we continue that time-honored practice as we celebrate the formal investiture of our newest president.
Dr. Cowley, by virtue of the authority granted to me by the State of Texas and the University of Texas System Board of Regents, I declare that you have been duly chosen to serve as the 10th president of the University of Texas at Arlington; and are vested with the powers and privileges appertaining to that office and are empowered to exercise them.
Emblematic of this, I will now bestow upon you UT Arlington’s university mace, a symbol of scholarship and integrity carried by the university marshal during academic ceremonies.