The Utah Board of Higher Education has named a 28-member committee to conduct a national search for the next president of the University of Utah. The committee will be led by Harris H. Simmons, chair of the Utah Board of Higher Education, and Christian Gardner, chair of the University of Utah Board of Trustees.
President Ruth V. Watkins announced on Jan. 12, 2021, that she would step down in April 2021 to accept the top leadership position at Strada Impact. The Utah Board of Higher Education will name an interim president prior to Watkins’ departure.
In addition to members of the Utah Board of Higher Education, the search committee includes representatives of the U’s trustees, faculty, staff, students, administration, alumni and community members.
“The University of Utah is an institution of great national and international prominence with respect to its research, health care system, academic standing and student success,” Simmons said. “I am thankful for the time and expertise these committee members will be devoting to the process and I am confident in their ability to finalize a list of highly qualified candidates from which the board can ultimately select the 17th president of the University of Utah.”
The Presidential Search Committee will host public forums in the coming weeks to receive input from the U community and the general public that will inform its work. Dates for those forums have not yet been set but will be posted on the U’s presidential search page when available. Based on that feedback, the committee will approve a position announcement and issue a call for nominations and applications, aided by a national search firm.
The committee will then screen applications and conduct interviews with candidates. The committee will then recommend three to five semifinalists to the Utah Board of Higher Education.
The board intends to name a new president by fall 2021 but will take the time necessary to find the most qualified candidate.