U Prepares to Inaugurate Ruth V. Watkins as 16th President


Ruth V. Watkins, President of the U.

By Jacqueline Mumford, Managing Editor

On Friday, Sept. 21, Ruth V. Watkins will be inaugurated as the 16th president of the University of Utah. The event begins at 3 p.m. in Kingsbury Hall at 1395 President’s Circle, and is free and open to the public.

The inauguration ceremony will have messages from both state officials and community members and a keynote address from Watkins herself, which will include a walkthrough of the university’s past, and an outline of her vision for its future.

The Utah State Board of Regents chose President Watkins to lead the U back in January 2018 after President Pershing’s resignation was announced. She assumed the presidency in April 2018.

Before her time at the U, Watkins served for 20 years in various faculty and leadership roles at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, including associate provost, vice provost and chief of staff for Undergraduate Education and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. During her last five years at the U, Watkins served as the senior vice president for academic affairs at the U. Now, she is excited to begin a new chapter.

“I am honored to have the privilege to lead at this time of great acceleration at the University of Utah,” Watkins said. “As a research university with an academic medical center located on a single campus, we are uniquely positioned to leverage our tradition of collaborative and innovative work in a way that impacts Utah, the nation and the world for good.”

Since her appointment to the presidency, Watkins has restructured her cabinet. Among the newest members are Dan Reed, former vice president at Microsoft, who joined her staff as senior vice president for academic affairs, Mike Good, former dean of medicine at University of Florida as senior vice president of health sciences and Mark Harlan from University of South Florida as the new athletic director.

Also on the president’s cabinet is vice president for student affairs, Barb Snyder.

“The inauguration is a wonderful opportunity for the U community to celebrate new leadership, as well as commemorate the important history of the University,” Snyder said. “The campus is energized around the appointment of Ruth Watkins as our president. The broad support for her is apparent in the planning and celebration of this momentous occasion.”

In preparation for President Watkins’ inauguration, the U will host a symposium on the U’s campus focusing on public universities in the United States. The event will bring experts from across the country to discuss pressing issues facing higher education, including topics from collaboration in research to university and community can be partnerships. The symposium will be held on Thursday, Sept. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and is also free and open to the public.

Both the symposium and the inauguration can be viewed through a live stream at president.utah.edu/inauguration. Parking will be available at the Rice-Eccles Stadium lot with shuttles also available. For more information about President Watkins and her team, visit https://president.utah.edu/.

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