Sylvia Trent-Adams has become the seventh president of The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth and the first black woman to lead a health science center in Texas.
Her appointment was made formal this week by the school’s board of regents.
Adams was selected by the regents as the sole finalist for the position on Aug. 19 after an eight-month national search. State law requires university governing boards to name finalists for a presidency at least 21 days before making a permanent appointment.
“From the first time I set foot on the HSC campus in January 2020, I could feel the energy and tell that there was something different about this university,” Trent-Adams said in a statement. “It’s the desire to make a difference in people’s lives, and it’s the reason I came to HSC.”
The new president says HSC set its sights on making a difference from its founding. Now, 50 years later, the HSC community continues to change the world every day mainly through world-class research, teaching, patient care, and service, she said.
“What is special about HSC is that it does this with an uncommon mix of innovation and compassion,” said Trent-Adams, who looks forward to building on that legacy and shaping HSC’s “next great chapter of working toward the public good.”
Before being appointed as president, Trent-Adams served as the Health Science Center’s executive vice president and chief strategy officer. She succeeds Michael Williams, who became chancellor of the UNT System on Jan. 1 and continued to serve as HSC’s president during the search process.
Located in the Fort Worth Cultural District, the Health Science Center trains healthcare providers of the future while expanding the frontiers of scientific discovery.
Starting with a ‘listening tour’
Trent-Adams said she will begin a listening tour to learn from HSC faculty, staff and students, in addition to community stakeholders, about what the university’s priorities should be.
According to a statement, her areas of interest include expanding and bringing national attention to HSC’s cutting-edge research around health disparities, Alzheimer’s disease, eye disorders, forensic identification and more. Trent-Adams also is interested in expanding HSC’s clinical capabilities and academic programs; broadening the university’s relationships with the community in whole health and other initiatives; and increasing fundraising and philanthropic pursuits, according to an HSC statement.
“Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams is an extraordinarily accomplished academic health care leader,” Chancellor Williams said in a statement.
Williams says the new president has the “unique vision, integrity, and compassion to assume the leadership at HSC.”
It’s a time of opportunity for HSC, she says, and Trent-Adams has proven both the “skills and imagination needed to be an inspirational leader, confront the challenges of our time.”
The Health Science Center’s president reports to the UNT System chancellor and is the CEO of the university, the statement said. The president is responsible for the overall leadership and management of all campus programs, services, and activities in every area of the university, including academic affairs, administration, strategic planning, student services, financial management, external relations and fundraising.
UNT said in a statement that the president leads, champions, and leverages the critical and unique role of the campus in advancing the center’s academic, research, and outreach mission, and in supporting the university’s reputation as a distinguished academic health science center. The president acts as a catalyst for creativity, innovation, and progress, UNT said.
“It is an immense honor to lead HSC, one of the nation’s most forward-thinking health science centers,” Trent-Adams said. “I am humbled and grateful, but not daunted, by the task ahead. I am attracted by challenges and look forward to this wonderful opportunity.”
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