TU’s budget reflects progress despite COVID-19 impacts; Weber new board chair

Yesterday, The University of Tulsa Board of Trustees approved the university’s fiscal year 2021 budget representing an approximately 50% reduction in its budget deficit, while maintaining the breadth and rigor of its academic, curricular and athletic programs.

“Steady progress has been made by Interim President Janet Levit, her leadership team and the staff and faculty who have worked tirelessly to achieve operational excellence and identify cost savings while maintaining those elements foundational to a TU experience,” said incoming Board Chair Dana Weber. “This improvement in TU’s financial health and progress toward meeting our budget mandate is particularly notable given the unanticipated additional challenges and financial impacts created by the pandemic.”

Weber also emphasized the significant planning TU had undertaken to facilitate a vibrant, on-campus experience for TU students, while addressing a myriad of COVID-19 health and safety requirements.  “As a small, private, student-centered institution, I believe TU is uniquely able to balance offering the rich, on-campus experience students want with prudent health and safety measures,” said Weber. TU’s fall semester starts Aug. 24.

Weber officially will become the chair of the Board of Trustees on July 1, replacing Fred Dorwart. Weber is CEO of Webco Industries, where she has served as its CFO and treasurer among other roles in her more than 40-year career with the company. She is also on the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority Board and has been its chair for the past two years. She was appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Oklahoma City Branch Board of Directors in 2018 and has been a member of the TU Board since May 2016. She graduated from The University of Tulsa with a bachelor of science degree in accounting in 1979 and a juris doctorate in 1983.

“Fred’s leadership these past two years has been exactly what TU needed. He has led us through a process that brought discipline, focus and renewed oversight of the financial health of TU,” Weber said. “I am thrilled he has agreed to continue to support me and TU by remaining a member of the board’s Executive Committee. While progress has been made, there is still a lot that remains to be achieved.”

Dorwart has led the board since 2018. “It has been my honor and privilege to serve as board chair over these past two years,” he said. “I am committed as ever to ensuring TU retains its special place as the pre-eminent university in the region. As the board, one of our primary responsibilities is the financial health of the institution we all love. The progress made toward achieving financial sustainability is as laudable as it is necessary.”

Trustees also reaffirmed their support for Levit as the board reviews the strategic priorities of the university amidst a rapidly evolving and dynamic higher education marketplace. “Janet has earned our continued support and appreciation for her diligence, determination and leadership during these particularly challenging times,” Weber said.