Harrison Keller has been announced as the next president of the University of North Texas, according to a university news release.

Keller succeeds Neal Smatresk, who led the university for the past decade. The president serves as the CEO of the university, and oversees the institution’s vision and strategic objectives, the release states.

“I am honored and excited by the opportunity to lead this remarkable university,” Keller said in the June 7 release. “Across the nation, not many universities have the scale, capabilities and potential of the University of North Texas."

Career history

Keller has served as the commissioner and CEO of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board since 2019. The board is a state agency that helps Texans obtain a postsecondary education and oversees higher education policy.

Before he was commissioner, Keller was a faculty member and administrator of The University of Texas. He has 25 years of experience in state budget and policy, the release states.

The details

The search for the university system’s president was completed through the UNT Presidential Search Advisory Committee. The group was led by Laura Wright, chair of the UNT System board of regents, with Chancellor Michael Williams serving as vice chair. Its members included representatives from the board of regents as well as university faculty, staff, students, administrators and alumni.

“From the beginning of our search, we set out to identify a leader who could build strategic partnerships; recruit world-class talent; and advance the institution’s role in meeting the demands of our region, state and nation,” Wright said in the release. “In addition, we heard feedback from UNT students, faculty, staff and community members who shared our desire for a president committed to student success, academic excellence and research growth. I believe Dr. Keller is the best leader to help us achieve our ambitious goals.”

The board of regents is expected to finalize Keller’s appointment the week of July 1.