Three finalists named in University of Utah presidential search

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SALT LAKE CITY (January 12, 2018) – The University of Utah Presidential Search Committee has recommended three finalists to the State Board of Regents for the position of University of Utah President: Dr. Nicholas P. Jones, Dr. Thomas Katsouleas and Dr. Ruth V. Watkins. R. William Funk and Associates assisted with the rigorous nationwide search.

“The University of Utah Presidential Search Committee has narrowed the applicant pool to these three highly qualified candidates and is honored to recommend them to the Board of Regents for its consideration in selecting a new leader for the university,” said Harris Simmons, search committee co-chair.

David Burton, search committee co-chair and chair of the University of Utah Board of Trustees, added: “We thank the university’s trustees, faculty, students and staff, along with the community as a whole, for their valuable participation in this process.”

The 25-member Presidential Search Committee has spent several months soliciting input through public meetings and in-person interviews. The Board of Regents will interview the following finalists (listed here in alphabetical order):

JonesNicholas P. Jones serves as executive vice president and provost at The Pennsylvania State University. He is responsible for the oversight of all of Penn State’s research and educational programs, institutional budget, strategic planning and for the general academic welfare of the faculty and students. Prior to Penn State, he was the Benjamin T. Rome Dean of the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins, and previously professor and chair of civil engineering. He also served as dean of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Jones holds a master’s degree and doctorate in civil engineering from Caltech and an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the University of Auckland.

KatsouleasThomas Katsouleas is executive vice president and provost of the University of Virginia, where he directs the academic administration of the 11 schools, the library, art museums, public service activities, university centers and foreign study programs. Prior to coming to UVA, Katsouleas served as dean of the Pratt School of Engineering and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke University and taught at the University of Southern California. Katsouleas earned his bachelor’s degree and doctorate in physics from UCLA.

WatkinsRuth V. Watkins serves as the senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the University of Utah. Appointed in 2013, she provides leadership for the academic mission, guiding the campus on matters related to faculty, staff and students, and works to set the university’s strategic direction and align resources with academic priorities. She has worked to enhance student success through degree completion and expand research and creative activity. Watkins came to Utah following 20 years in leadership and faculty roles the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in child language from the University of Kansas.

The finalists will be on the University of Utah campus on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, to meet privately with groups representing faculty, staff, students and administration. On Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, the Board of Regents will interview the finalists in a closed session. The board may convene a public meeting on the 4th floor of Rice-Eccles Stadium at 5:30 p.m. that day to select the president. However, it may convene at another time, which will be announced at a later date.


About the Utah System of Higher Education

The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) is governed by the Board of Regents and is comprised of Utah’s eight public colleges and universities. The CEO of USHE is the Commissioner of Higher Education. For more information, visit

About the University of Utah

The University of Utah, located in Salt Lake City in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, is the flagship institution of higher learning in Utah. Founded in 1850, it serves over 31,000 students from across the U.S. and the world. With over 72 major subjects at the undergraduate level and more than 90 major fields of study at the graduate level, including law and medicine, the university prepares students to live and compete in the global workplace. Known for its proximity to seven world-class ski resorts within 40 minutes of campus, the U encourages an active, holistic lifestyle, innovation and collaborative thinking to engage students, faculty and business leaders

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