Commissioner of Higher Education to retire

By By Carlos Mayorga

By Carlos Mayorga

Utah Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Kendell announced last week to the State Board of Regents, the state’s oversight body for higher education, he will retire at the end of this year.

Kendell, 64, earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in leadership and policy from the U, but his ties to the U don’t stop there.

He worked as chairman of the department of leadership and policy in the School of Education and also served as associate dean of the School of Education and of the graduate school.

As commissioner, Kendell launched a campaign to encourage more Utahns to seek and complete post-secondary education. He helped secure a national grant to create the Utah Scholars Initiative, which puts business leaders in classrooms and encourages students to stay in school and study hard.

“His experience in public education, higher education and the business sector is invaluable,” said Jed Pitcher, chairman of the Board of Regents, in a statement. “We will miss him, but understand and support his reasons for retiring.”

Prior to being appointed commissioner of higher education, Kendell served as former Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt’s deputy for education and was superintendent of schools for Davis School District. He began his career teaching English at Ogden High School in 1967.

“He is a dynamic leader,” said Amanda Covington, a spokeswoman for the System of Higher Education. “He thinks outside of the box. Not only does he get the job done, but he is great to work with. He is really passionate about education.”

Kendell does not have any definite plans for after he retires, but hopes to continue serving, perhaps through teaching, humanitarian service or fund raising for students in higher education.

His replacement has not yet been selected. The regents are expected to begin their search for a new commissioner in the near future.

Courtesy Photo

Richard Kendell