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UT System names new executive vice chancellor for business affairs

University of Texas System Chancellor James B. Milliken announced today that Jonathan C. Pruitt, currently chief operating officer for the University of North Carolina System, has been named the UT System’s new executive vice chancellor for business affairs.

Profile photo of Jonathan C. Pruitt
Jonathan C. Pruitt

Pruitt will be responsible for the management of the UT System’s annual operating budget and for overseeing financial and business affairs for the UT System. He will lead development of short and long-term plans and budgets to support the goals and growth of 13 UT institutions and will manage the UT System departments and functions including financial reporting, debt financing, capital projects, University Lands, information technology, real estate and employee benefits.

For the past two decades, Pruitt has held senior leadership positions in public higher education finance and operations at both the campus and system administration levels. At the UNC System, Pruitt is the primary strategic advisor to the president of the System and oversees the business affairs of an academic and health care enterprise that includes 17 institutions, 14 hospitals and more than 500 clinics across the state.

Pruitt joined the UNC System in 2006 and has held senior positions in finance, operations and business and had oversight of initiatives in fiscal management with an emphasis on efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability. He has also administered state-appropriated budget, construction and debt issuance programs. Pruitt brings extensive experience working with a broad range of stakeholders including governing boards, elected officials, credit rating agencies, and federal and state regulatory agencies.

He also served as vice chancellor for finance and operations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before returning to the UNC System as chief operating officer in 2020. While at UNC Chapel Hill, he was instrumental in the development of a budget model to address deficits while meeting the needs of educators and advancing strategic priorities.

Pruitt began his career in the Kentucky Governor’s Office for Policy and Management and Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

Pruitt was selected for the role following a national search, in which leadership of the Board of Regents and campus chief business officers participated.

“One of the hallmarks of the UT System is its strong fiscal management and financial performance. We believe Jonathan will continue to enhance that through his extensive expertise in public higher education finance and business operations,” Chancellor Milliken said. “He has a deep understanding of the complexities of higher education administration, and we are confident that he will help position UT institutions for sustained financial health.  I am grateful to the regents and institutional chief business officers who devoted considerable time to making sure this important search was a success.”

 “The financial leadership of the UT System is critical to the impact on our students, faculty and the state’s wellbeing and competitiveness,” said Chairman Kevin P. Eltife.  “The board looks forward to working with Jonathan Pruitt in this key role.”

Pruitt will succeed Scott Kelley, who retired last year and whose 17-year tenure was highlighted by the implementation of numerous innovative business practices that generated additional revenue for UT institutions. Currently, each of the national credit rating agencies has affirmed the highest credit ratings for the UT System.

Pruitt holds a bachelor's degree from Centre College and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Kentucky. He is currently a board member of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) and serves as chairman of its Audit Committee.

“It’s a great honor to accept this responsibility,” Pruitt said. “The UT System is a renowned higher education institution essential to the continued economic and social prosperity of the state and dedicated to leading on the national and global stage. I’m thrilled to join Chancellor Milliken and his talented team to advance the System’s priorities and support the UT institutions as they fulfill their missions of teaching, research, service and patient care to the people of Texas and beyond.”

Pruitt will join the UT System March 1.

About The University of Texas System

For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 13 institutions, an enrollment of more than 243,000 students and an operating budget of $23.4 billion (FY 2022), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 67,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its medical degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 8.6 million outpatient visits and almost 1.8 million hospital days in 2020. UT institutions also are among the most innovative in the world, collectively ranking No. 4 for most U.S. patents granted in 2020, and the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation in federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.

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