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Greg Fenves - Getting to Know Emory University’s New President

Posted on Wednesday, September 30, 2020

On August 1st, Greg Fenves became Emory University’s 21st president.  Fenves is known for exceptional strength in problem solving, leveraging his skills in structural engineering and computer science, and his ability to calmly lead through challenging environments.  He is described by colleagues as humble, and approachable, while methodically diving into data to analyze a path forward with a strong resolve. Perhaps explained partially by his upbringing, born to Steven Fenves a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Norma Fenves, a clinical social worker.

Following a 36-year career in higher education, and a childhood spent in university settings, Fenves arrives to Emory ready to lead in these extraordinary times.  He states “At this unprecedented moment in history, Emory’s leadership in education, research, and health care has never been more important.  I am honored to join everyone in this community as we further our mission and work thoughtfully and passionately to serve society at the highest level.” (

He holds a bachelors degree in engineering from Cornell, as well as master and doctoral degrees in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Fenves launched his teaching career at UT Austin, was on faculty at UC Berkeley for 20 years where he became an internationally renowned expert on structural engineering for earthquakes, and chaired the UC Berkeley’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (ranked #1 in the nation).  He then returned to UT Austin where he served as the dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering, provost, and then ultimately president.  He served for 5 years as president of UT Austin. Under his leadership the Dell Medical School opened becoming the first new US medical school at a major research university in almost 50 years.

In 2014 Fenves was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his groundbreaking earthquake engineering research and academic leadership. He has also received the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, the Walter L. Huber Research Prize, the Moisseiff Award, and the J. James Cross Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

President Fenves moved to Atlanta with his wife of 36 years, Carmel Martinez Fenves, a textile artist and former small business owner.  They have two adult daughters who reside in Austin. 

ARCS Atlanta is excited to work with President Fenves, and to continue working with Emory to advance science and technology!