Philip E. Austin

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Philip E. Austin (born March 25, 1942)[1] was the thirteenth President of the University of Connecticut (UConn) from October 1, 1996 to September 2007, and returned to serve as Interim President in May 2010 following the departure of Michael J. Hogan. The University of Connecticut has campuses in Storrs, Farmington, Groton, Hartford, West Hartford, Stamford, Torrington, and Waterbury enrolling over 30,000 students, with a total operating budget of approximately $1.8 billion.

Early life[edit]

Austin was born in Fargo, North Dakota. After attending grammar and high school in Casselton, North Dakota, he graduated from North Dakota State University with a B. S. degree in 1964, and became a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He earned an M. S. Degree in Agricultural Economics there in 1966. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Michigan State University.

Dr. Austin’s service in the United States Army extended from 1969-1971. He was an Economist with the rank of Army Captain in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Economic Affairs at U. S. Military Headquarters in Saigon, Vietnam. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal during his military duty.

He served as an Economist in the Director’s Office of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget from 1971 to 1974. From 1974 to 1977, Dr. Austin was HEW Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education in Washington, D.C. During the latter part of this assignment, he also served as Acting Assistant Secretary for Education.

From 1978 to 1984, Dr. Austin served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Economics and Finance at Bernard Baruch College in New York City. He was previously Director of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Public Policy at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

He was the U.S. delegate to several international conferences on education and economic policy (e.g., Iran, Romania, France, Saudi Arabia) and was a member of a three-person team invited by the Government of Denmark to evaluate that country’s educational programs and policies.

Administrative career[edit]

Dr. Austin served for seven years as Chancellor of The University of Alabama System. The System included campuses based in Tuscaloosa (UA), Birmingham (UAB), and Huntsville (UAH). The three-campus System, each headed by a president, had a student enrollment of over 43,000 students with a budget of $1.3 billion.

Before assuming the Alabama position, Dr. Austin was President of Colorado State University. He was concurrently Chancellor of the Colorado State University System that included the University of Southern Colorado in Pueblo (now known as Colorado State University-Pueblo), and Fort Lewis College in Durango. He held the academic rank of Professor in the Department of Economics and the Department of Finance.[2]

Afterward, he became President of the University of Connecticut, where he served for eleven years. During President Austin’s tenure, the University has undergone a major physical transformation, aided by the State of Connecticut’s $2.3 billion investment in infrastructure enhancement. Concurrently, UConn has experienced significant growth in the size and academic strength of its student body, enhancement of research, and expansion of public service. U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked the University of Connecticut as the top public university in New England. Dr. Austin has served as President of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and as chairman of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Board of Directors. During Dr. Austin's tenure, the University completed a capital campaign, with more than $425 million raised.[3]

In September 2007, Austin resigned his position as President of the University.

On June 11, 2010 Dr. Austin returned to serve as the interim president of the University of Connecticut until May 31, 2011. Subsequently, he was UConn's interim Vice President for Health Affairs. At the request of Governor Dannel Malloy, Dr. Austin served as the interim president of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education from October 2012 through June 2013.


He was active in several national professional associations. He was chairman of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Board of Directors, and immediate Past President of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). He served on the Board of Directors of Connecticut United for Research Excellence, Inc. (CURE), the Governor’s Council on Economic Competitiveness and Technology, and the MetroHartford Regional Economic Alliance. He has served on the Boards of Directors of several private-sector enterprises, including the First Interstate Bank of Fort Collins, Colorado, the Alabama Power Company, the American Cast Iron Pipe Company, and Fleet Bank.

A chair in economics has been named for him.[4][5]


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