Brad Carson, an Oklahoma native and the University of Tulsa’s 21st president, brings decades of experience to his new role. After graduating from Baylor University, Carson became a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford and then earned his Juris Doctorate from OU. He was a professor at the University of Virginia, a senior advisor at Boston Consulting Group, and the undersecretary in the U.S. Army. Additionally, Carson was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom as an intelligence officer and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.

In 2015, former President Barack Obama appointed Carson acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness at the U.S. Department of Defense. Carson harbors expertise in subjects including national security, energy policy and American politics. We caught up with Carson and got his thoughts on … 

… lessons he’s learned thus far in his career. 

Be open to opportunities. Believe in yourself. Don’t fear change.

… short-term and long-term goals for the University of Tulsa.

My short-term goal is to increase enrollment at TU while ensuring every academic program is on solid footing. [In the long term,] I want to make TU the best university between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River.

… the appeal of TU.

The broader attributes of TU are what drew me to the job, as well as the great city of Tulsa. I hope my background in the defense sector can add value as we expand our cyber programs. I have many contacts who work in the growing field of cyber security, and I intend to leverage those relationships to benefit the university. TU’s new School of Cyber Studies should be a magnet for anyone seeking to shape the future of technology, because it extends beyond computing and encompasses a multitude of disciplines – business, health, law, policy and much more.

…steps toward diversity and inclusion.

The key is to create an inclusive atmosphere where all feel welcome. Diversity and equity aren’t an end-state, but rather a continual process to ensure that opportunities are open to all. TU is fully committed to these efforts and has included this important initiative in our strategic planning process.

… what has surprised him thus far about the job.

What a remarkable city Tulsa has become in my decade-long absence. For example, the downtown area has developed several arts and entertainment districts with thriving nightlife, successful businesses and venues for cultural events that nurture our community seven days a week.

… why he returned to Oklahoma.

I love Oklahoma. My family has been in this state for 180 years. My wife is from here, too. The people are the most committed and generous you will find anywhere.

… his hopes for TU in the next two decades.

In 20 years, I believe that TU will be recognized along with Rice (Houston) and Washington (St. Louis) as the preeminent universities in the Midwest. I hope to have, in some small way at least, spurred that development along.

… what he’s looking forward to.

Reuniting with my family, who still live in Washington, D.C. 

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