Southern Utah University Presidential Search Committee named by Utah Board of Higher Education

The Utah Board of Higher Education has named a 21-member committee to conduct a national search for the next president of Southern Utah University. The Board named Mindy Benson as SUU interim president effective July 2021, following Commissioner Dave R. Woolstenhulme’s announcement that then-SUU President Scott L. Wyatt had accepted the new position of Senior Executive Director of Statewide Online Education within the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.

The search committee will be co-chaired by Utah Board of Higher Education Vice Chair Nina Barnes and SUU Board of Trustees Chair Rich Christiansen. It is comprised of representatives from the Board of Higher Education, trustees and institutional stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, administration, alumni and community members. 

“Southern Utah University’s deep community ties have led it to excel in its mission to provide quality higher education opportunities to its students and strengthen local and statewide economies,” said Nina Barnes, Vice Chair of the Utah Board of Higher Education. “The Board selected presidential search committee members from a pool of top-tier campus and community stakeholders and is grateful for their commitment over the next several months in the search for the next leader of SUU.”

Below is a complete list of the Southern Utah University Presidential Search Committee members:

Board of Higher Education
Nina R. BarnesVice Chair and Search Committee Co-Chair
Aaron OsmondVice Chair
Stacy BettridgeBoard member
Southern Utah University Board of Trustees
Rich ChristiansenChair and Search Committee Co-Chair
Jodi Hart WilsonVice Chair
Beverly BurgessTrustee
Southern Utah University Administration, Faculty and Staff
Kholoud Al-QubbajAssociate Professor of Humanities
Dan CampStaff Association President and Assistant Director of Purchasing
Rheana GardnerFaculty Senate President; Associate Professor of Photography 
Stuart JonesVice President for Advancement & Enrollment Management
Daneka SouberbielleAssociate Provost of Equity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
Camille ThomasInterim Dean of the College of Health Sciences
Southern Utah University Students
Nouman KanteGraduate student, Master of Public Administration; 2020-21 Student Body President; Student member, SUU Board of Trustees
Matthew MathesonUndergraduate student, marketing; Marketing Club President
Community/Alumni Representatives
Scott JohnsonCFO, Valley Bank of Nevada
Jeff LarsenUtah Shakespeare Festival Board Immediate Past Chair; Retired Senior Vice President of PacifiCorp and NV Energy Board of Directors
Myndee Kay LarsenSUU Alumni President; SUU Trustee; Deputy Commissioner, The Summit League
Eric O. LeavittExecutive Chairman & CEO, Leavitt Group
R. Scott PhillipsCouncil Member, Cedar City
Eric J. SchmutzPresident & CEO, State Bank of Southern Utah
Georgia Beth ThompsonRetired, former SUU Vice President for Student Services

The Presidential Search Committee will host public forums over the coming weeks to obtain input from the Southern Utah University community and the general public on the presidential search. Details of these forums will be available in January 2022. 

Based on feedback obtained in the public forums, the committee will approve a position announcement and call for nominations and applications with the assistance of a national search firm. The committee will then screen applications for the position and conduct interviews with candidates. After deliberating, the committee will recommend three to five semifinalists to the Board of Higher Education. The Board intends to name a new president by the fall of 2022 but will take the necessary time to find the most qualified candidate.

For more information about the Southern Utah University presidential search, visit

Media Inquiries

Trisha Dugovic
Communications Director