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University Of Tulsa Announces Former Defense Official, Congressman As New President


The University of Tulsa Board of Trustees on Monday unanimously selected former U.S. Department of Defense official and Oklahoma congressman Brad Carson as the university's next president.

Carson will begin his term as TU's 21st president on July 1, taking over from interim President Janet Levit. Levit has led the university since former university President Gerard Clancy resigned in January 2020 because of an unexpected medical episode.

"In a real way, The University of Tulsa is as much an idea as an institution: a pact between the past, with its glorious achievements, and the future, with its attendant possibilities. I am particularly excited about the new strategic plan and the great opportunities it contains," Carson said in a statement.

The university adopted a new strategic plan in January.

Carson has taught classes on national security and public sector innovation at the University of Virginia since 2018. In 2015, President Barack Obama appointed him acting under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness. At the U.S. Department of Defense, Carson oversaw human resources, military readiness, training, education and health care for service members, civilian employees and their families.

Before working at the defense department, Carson was under secretary and general counsel of the U.S. Army. In 2008, he deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom as an intelligence officer, earning the Bronze Star. From 2001 to 2005, Carson served two terms as U.S. representative of Oklahoma's Second District.

Carson has also taught a variety of courses at TU's business and law schools, and he was president and CEO of Cherokee Nation Businesses.

TU launched a national search for its next president in July.

"Brad is an experienced and empowering leader and public servant who has demonstrated his ability to competently lead complex organizations through change. Working alongside our faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees and broader TU community, I have confidence he will build on our strong foundation, bring our new strategic plan to fruition and spearhead a truly bright future for TU, for Tulsa and for our region," board of trustees Chair Dana Weber said in a statement.

Levit will continue leading TU through June.

"I am thrilled that TU will have Brad as its next president. He is a brilliant leader with deep roots in Tulsa and TU. I am confident that he will bring his wealth of experience – from government, politics, tribal leadership, the private sector and academia – to innovate, to collaborate and to lead TU to greater heights," Levit said in a statement.

A native Oklahoman, Carson received his bachelor's degree from Baylor University and was a Rhodes Scholar prior to earning his J.D. at the University of Oklahoma. Carson is married to Julie Kruse Carson, an attorney at the defense department, and they have a 15-year-old son, Jack.

Note: KWGS is licensed to TU.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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