Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams to be inaugurated as president of HSC

Dr. Sylvia Trent Adams
Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams

The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth will host an inauguration ceremony on March 7 to honor Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams’ role as president of one of the country’s premier health science centers.

The free event, which is open to the public, will begin at 10 a.m. in the Will Rogers Memorial Center Auditorium, 3401 W. Lancaster Ave.

“This ceremony is a way of reaching out to the community and casting a spotlight on all of the important work we’re doing at HSC,” Trent-Adams said. “It’s truly an honor to lead this great institution and advance our mission to create solutions for a healthier community. Though we as a university continue to work tirelessly on behalf of our students, patients and community, I’m grateful for the opportunity to pause and celebrate our shared goals and values.”

Among those confirmed to attend is a former U.S. surgeon general, a president of another UNT System institution, members of the UNT System Board of Regents, presidents and high-ranking officials from universities around the country and leaders from major businesses.

Keynote speakers will be Dr. Brett Giroir and Dr. William Trent. Giroir served as the 16th assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, acting FDA commissioner and admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Trent is professor emeritus in the Department of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is Trent-Adams’ cousin.

“She’s a very family-oriented person,” Trent said about Trent-Adams. “Her values and clarity about issues of fairness and justice are impeccable. She is a high-caliber person and was raised that way. Those are the fundamental tenants of her upbringing. At the same time, she’s very humble about it. You would not immediately assume that she’s one of these highly accomplished people. She is the person who appreciates what she’s able to do but also will jump in and help whenever she can provide support.”

Trent-Adams took over as HSC’s seventh president in September. She succeeds Dr. Michael Williams, who on Jan. 1, 2022, became chancellor of the UNT System and continued to serve as HSC’s president during the search process. Prior to being elevated to president, Trent-Adams served as HSC’s executive vice president and chief strategy officer.

What is now HSC started in 1970 when the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine accepted its first students. In 1975, TCOM came under the umbrella of North Texas State University, which later evolved into the UNT System that now includes campuses in Denton and Dallas. With the establishment in 1993 of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, TCOM expanded to become The University of North Texas Health Science Center. HSC began offering its first undergraduate degree − a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences – in fall 2022, and the university now has more than 2,300 students taking classes face-to-face and online.

“This is a pivotal moment for HSC – one full of extraordinary possibilities to pursue new ideas, serve the community, and innovate education and health care – but also a time of unique challenges in an ever-changing higher education landscape,” Williams said. “Such an era calls for skillful leadership, strategic thinking and disciplined execution. Dr. Trent-Adams has been providing just that.”

Trent-Adams is the first Black woman to lead a health science center in Texas. She began her extensive health care career in 1987 in the U.S. Army. In 1992, she joined the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps before ultimately retiring in 2020 with the rank of Rear Admiral Upper Half. She has held the positions of Deputy Associate Administrator for the HIV/AIDS Bureau in the Health Resources and Services Administration, Deputy Surgeon General, Acting Surgeon General and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health.

“President Trent-Adams has served as one of the most influential leaders in medicine and public health in the U.S. for more than two decades,” said Giroir, who worked with Trent-Adams during her service in the Commissioned Corps. “Her passion, integrity and commitment to excellence and mentorship are unrivaled in my professional experience. These qualities, combined with HSC’s focus on interdisciplinary patient care, actionable research and values, makes me extremely optimistic about the future for both the president and this up-and-coming institution.”

Since becoming president, Trent-Adams has already set in motion her ambitious agenda to bolster campus research, fundraising and enrollment, in addition to raising the profile of the university. She embarked on a campuswide listening tour within her first month to meet face-to-face with faculty, staff and students and hear their ideas. Trent-Adams also has made key hires, including Dennis Burns, the new HSC assistant vice chancellor and chief human resources officer.

Although the inauguration event is free to the public, parking at Will Rogers is $12. Those who wish to attend the event at Will Rogers are asked to register in advance. The event also may be viewed on livestream.

Past Presidents

Marion E. Coy, 1973-1975

Ralph L. Willard, 1981-1985

David M. Richards, 1986-1999

Ronald R. Blanck, 2000-2006

Scott B. Ranson, 2006-2013

Michael R. Williams, 2013-2022

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