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

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. Ruth V. Watkins, president of the University of Utah, announced on Jan. 12, 2021, that she planned to step down as president effective in April 2021. The Board will name an interim president by that time.

The search committee will be co-chaired by Utah Board of Higher Education Chair Harris H. Simmons and University of Utah Board of Trustees Chair Christian Gardner. It is comprised of representatives from the Board of Higher Education, trustees and institutional stakeholders including 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,” said Harris H. Simmons, Chair of the Utah Board of Higher Education. “The members of the search committee were selected from an impressive pool of campus and community stakeholders to conduct the search for President Ruth V. Watkins’s successor. 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.”

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

Utah Board of Higher Education
Harris H. SimmonsBoard of Higher Education Chair and Search Committee Co-Chair
Arthur NewellBoard member
Crystal MaggeletBoard member
Shawn NewellBoard member
University of Utah Board of Trustees
Christian GardnerTrustee Chair and Search Committee Co-Chair
Katie EcclesTrustee Vice Chair
David ParkinTrustee
Kim BrunisholzTrustee; President U of U Alumni Association Board of Governors
University of Utah Administration, Faculty and Staff
Randy DryerPresident, Academic Senate; Lecturer, Honors College, College of Law
Sneha KaseraAssociate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Engineering; Professor, School of Computing
Mary Elizabeth HartnettEndowed Chair and Distinguished Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences; Adjunct Professor, Neurobiology and Anatomy Labs and Pediatrics
Al LandonAssistant Dean, Business Relations, David Eccles School of Business; Adjunct Professor, Accounting
Chris LinderAssociate Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy, College of Education; Director, McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention
Matthew SigmanPeter J. and Christine S. Stang Presidential Endowed Chair of Chemistry; Chair, Department of Chemistry; Distinguished Professor, Chemistry
Smitha WarrierAssistant Professor (Clinical), Department of Anesthesiology
Randall PetersonDean, College of Pharmacy; Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology
Martell TeasleyDean and Professor, College of Social Work
Alison Flynn GaffneyExecutive Director, Service Lines, Ancillary & Support Services, U of U Hospitals & Clinics
Mary Ann VillarrealVice President for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Bryce WilliamsPresident, Staff Council; Program Coordinator, Bennion Community Service Center
Heidi WoodburyVice President for Institutional Advancement
University of Utah Students
Merry JosephUndergraduate, Biomedical Engineering /Psychology
Ethan RamosUndergraduate, Computer Science
Claudia LoayzaGraduate Student, Architecture + Planning
Community/Alumni Representatives
Clark IvoryCEO, Ivory Homes
Kathie MillerMember, U of U Health Educational Resource Development Council
Jennifer Price-WallinChair, College of Fine Arts Advisory Board
Charles SorensonPresident and CEO Emeritus, Intermountain Healthcare; Founding Director, Intermountain Healthcare Leadership Institute

The Presidential Search Committee will host public forums over the coming weeks to obtain input from the University of Utah community and the general public on the presidential search. Details of these forums will be available in February 2021. 

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 2021 but will take the necessary time to find the most qualified candidate.

Media Inquiries

Trisha Dugovic
Communications Director