Three finalists named in University of Utah presidential search 

Public meetings with finalists Aug. 4; presidential appointment expected Aug. 5

After an extensive national search, the University of Utah Presidential Search Committee has recommended three finalists to the Utah Board of Higher Education for the position of University of Utah President: Carrie L. Byington, M.D.; Jayathi Y. Murthy, Ph.D.; and Taylor R. Randall, Ph.D.

“The University of Utah Presidential Search Committee is pleased to recommend these three candidates to the Utah Board of Higher Education,” said Harris H. Simmons, Board chair and search committee co-chair. “Our extensive search has led us to capable and distinguished candidates who will have the opportunity to be considered by the Utah Board of Higher Education as the next president and leader of the University of Utah.”

Christian Gardner, search committee co-chair and chair of the University of Utah Board of Trustees, added, “I’m grateful to the search committee for their time, commitment and hard work in identifying three tremendous leaders as candidates for University of Utah president. Each would be an outstanding choice to lead Utah’s flagship university and is well positioned to continue the U’s upward trajectory.”

The 32-member search committee has spent several months soliciting input through public meetings and in-person interviews. The Utah Board of Higher Education will interview the following finalists (listed here in alphabetical order):

Carrie L. Byington, M.D. is the Executive Vice President for the University of California’s health enterprise and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. In her role as EVP, Dr. Byington leads the country’s largest public academic health care system. In this capacity, she has also led the COVID-19 response for the UC System including preparing hospitals for surge, protecting 100,000 health care workers, developing testing, supporting the health and safety of 600,000 students and employees on 10 campuses, coordinating the COVID vaccine roll-out and partnering with the state of California to provide expertise and capacity for pandemic response.

Dr. Byington has had a distinguished career in academic medicine. Before assuming leadership and faculty positions with the University of California, Dr. Byington served simultaneously as vice chancellor for health services to the Texas A&M System and senior vice president for health sciences and dean of the College of Medicine at Texas A&M University. Prior to those roles, Dr. Byington was a professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah and served as associate vice president of faculty and academic affairs for the University of Utah Health Sciences Center and vice dean for academic affairs and faculty development to the University of Utah School of Medicine. As a Mexican-American woman in academic medicine, she has worked throughout her career to end health disparities and increase health equity. She has also worked for a more inclusive academy. In her administrative roles, she has developed and supported faculty mentoring programs and policies and processes for faculty diversity, salary equity and parental leave. Dr. Byington has created pipeline programs for underrepresented students interested in health professions, has held training grants that support research and career development experiences for American Indian undergraduates and has mentored more than 100 students, trainees and faculty members, the majority of whom are underrepresented in academics or medicine. Dr. Byington is a graduate of Texas A&M University (BS Biology) and the Baylor College of Medicine, both with honors. She completed a residency in pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, where she was a neonatal chief resident, and a fellowship in infectious diseases at UCSF. Read More.

Jayathi Y. Murthy, Ph.D. is the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, with about 190 faculty members and more than 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Murthy is also a distinguished professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Department. Under Murthy’s leadership, UCLA Samueli has focused on growth in areas critical to the 21st century, including engineering in medicine and biology; sustainable and resilient urban systems; artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science; cybersecurity and the future internet; robotics and cyberphysical systems; as well as advanced materials and manufacturing.

Prior to joining the University of Texas at Austin, Murthy was professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University from 2001 to 2011 and held the Robert V. Adams Chair from 2008-2011. Before joining Purdue, she was a professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Murthy began her career at Arizona State University, where she was an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering from 1984 to 1988. Murthy was one of the earliest employees of the New Hampshire-based Fluent, Inc., the developer and vendor of the world’s most widely used computational fluid dynamics software, FLUENT. She worked there from 1988-1998. The algorithms she developed form the basis of many widely-used commercial computational fluid dynamics codes. Murthy received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree from Washington State University and a B. Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, where she was named a distinguished alumna in 2012. Read More.

Taylor R. Randall, Ph.D. joined the University of Utah in 1999 and has served as dean of the David Eccles School of Business for 12 years. 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. Currently, seven of the school’s programs are ranked in the top 25. 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.

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.

Next steps

The finalists will be on the University of Utah’s campus on Wednesday, August 4, 2021, to meet with groups representing faculty, staff, students, trustees and administration. Each finalist will participate in a public meeting the afternoon of August 4, where attendees from the University of Utah community and the general public will have the opportunity to ask questions of the candidates.

Public meeting schedule

University of Utah – Marriott Library Gould Auditorium
295 South 1500 East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112

12:30 – 1:15 p.m. – Jayathi Y. Murthy

1:45 – 2:30 p.m. – Taylor R. Randall

3:00 – 3:45 p.m. – Carrie L. Byington

Members of the campus community and public are welcome to attend in person or watch these sessions online.  More information on the public meetings is available at https://presidentsearch.utah.edu/.

On Thursday, August 5, 2021, the Utah Board of Higher Education will interview the finalists in a closed session. The Board may convene a public meeting at the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium (fourth floor) at 5 p.m. that day to select the president. However, it may convene at another time, which will be announced at a later date.