Taylor R. Randall named as 17th U president

Editor’s note: Highlights from the presidential announcement can be found here. To watch the full announcement use this link

The Utah Board of Higher Education selected Taylor R. Randall, Ph.D., as the 17th president of the University of Utah today, following an extensive national search.

Randall will assume the role on Monday, Aug. 9, 2021. He succeeds Ruth V. Watkins, who served as president from April 2018-April 2021.

“The University of Utah is at a key turning point and is growing in national and international prominence,” said Harris H. Simmons, Board chair and search committee co-chair. “Dr. Taylor Randall is an exceptional leader who has led the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business to great success, and I am confident he will bring those strengths to his new role as president of the U of U. Dr. Randall’s years of institutional knowledge and innovative solutions will enable even more students, faculty and staff to reach their full potential.”

A 32-member search committee, co-chaired by Simmons and University of Utah Board of Trustees Chair Christian Gardner, spent the last seven months soliciting input through public meetings and in-person interviews. Randall was one of three finalists announced on July 21.

“Dr. Randall is a seasoned administrator, and I am excited for him to bring his passion for the university’s mission and his proven track record of success from the David Eccles School of Business to the central administration of the university,” said Christian Gardner, Trustee chair and search committee co-chair. “He is well prepared to lead the University of Utah, and I look forward to supporting his vision for the university in the years ahead.”

Randall is currently dean of the David Eccles School of Business, a position he’s held since 2009. Under his leadership, the Eccles School has gained a national reputation as a place of innovation, garnering top 10 entrepreneurship rankings for both undergraduate and graduate programs. During his time as dean, the value of an Eccles School education has increased dramatically. Experiential learning opportunities have expanded along with the institutes and centers that offer invaluable experience to students in fields ranging from finance to social impact to policy creation. The Marriner S. Eccles Institute for Economics and Quantitative Analysis, the Sorenson Impact Center, the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and the Goff Strategic Leadership Center all have opened under Randall’s direction.

“There are no better opportunities in higher education and health care in this country than what lies in front of the University of Utah. I am deeply humbled to lead and serve the U and its phenomenal faculty, staff and students as we seek to elevate our stature as a public university and health care system,” Randall said. “As a third-generation professor, my commitment to the university runs deep. The University of Utah transformed me as an undergraduate student and gave me a crucial head start in my career and sustained me as a researcher—a scenario I hope to replicate over and over again for future graduates of and faculty at the U.”

Before assuming the role of dean, Randall served as a professor of accounting for 11 years, earning accolades throughout his teaching career. He has received awards for the best teacher in the MBA, Executive MBA and undergraduate programs as well as the Brady Superior Teaching Award, which is a career achievement award. Under his guidance as faculty director, the University Venture Fund became the largest student-run venture fund in the country.

He graduated from the University of Utah with honors in accounting and then earned an MBA and Ph.D. in operations and information management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Read more.

“There is a lot of exciting work ahead for the University of Utah and the System,” said Dave R. Woolstenhulme, Commissioner of Higher Education. “I welcome the upcoming work and collaboration over the coming months and years to make President Randall’s vision for the U a reality so that it may continue on its upward trajectory.”