Taylor Randall Inaugurated as the University of Utah’s 17th President


Kevin Cody

President Randall being formally inaugurated at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City on March 23, 2022. (Photo by Kevin Cody | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Stephanie Hong, News Writer


On March 23, at 4:30 p.m. MDT, the inauguration ceremony of the 17th President of the University of Utah, Taylor R. Randall, was held at Kingsbury Hall in President’s Circle. About 800 people attended, and a watch party was also held at the A. Ray Olpin Union Building and the U Asia Campus in South Korea.

Randall was selected as president of the U on Aug. 5, 2021. He is the former dean of the David Eccles School of Business.

His inauguration began with an invocation by Elaine S. Dalton, a former leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and a Land Acknowledgement by Lori McDonald, Vice President of Student Affairs at the U.

Chair of the Board of Trustees Christian Gardner said that although he is now being inaugurated he has been “hard at work” since August.

“He truly is a leader that knows how to put ideas into action,” said Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees Katie Eccles.

The event included several other speakers, including Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Karl Ulrich, and a video that chronicled Randall’s journey at the U.

“It is an honor to serve an institution that has meant so much to me and my family over multiple generations,” Randall said in an email interview. “I’ve observed the power of what the University of Utah can do for individuals and families, including my own.”

According to Randall, by becoming a top 10 public university with unsurpassed societal impact, the U will inspire a new generation of students, find new and faster ways to innovate, improve and touch the lives of all Utahns.

Randall said he inherits an institution poised for remarkable success.

“I am so grateful for this opportunity to lead an institution that I love, a top-tier research university that provides an exceptional education, groundbreaking research, and meaningful service in the community around us,” he said.

Randall stressed the U’s imagination to inspire, innovate and impact. He wants the student body to total 40,000 students and plans to increase annual external research funding to $1 billion within 7 years, impacting the lives of the 3.3 million Utahns who live in the communities around our campus.

“At the University of Utah, we have a philosophy of ‘Imagine, then do.’ It’s why we call it Imagine U,” Randall said. “’Imagine’ is one of the most powerful and evocative words in the English language. It evokes something personal and aspirational to everyone who hears it.”

Randall also mentioned the Sorenson/Gay Epicenter, which will be built near the Eccles Student Life Center. This housing and educational concept was developed based on Lassonde Studios.

“Let’s think of campus as more than a classroom, but rather an experience, a playground where anything is possible,” President Randall said. “This begins by literally building a campus that integrates learning, living, and the world around them.”

The epicenter, which will include a 755-bed educational experience, will have two research centers co-located within the Sorenson Impact Center and the Center for Business Health and Prosperity. According to President Randall, the co-location of these activities will provide opportunities for students to find innovative solutions to today’s social issues.

Randall said he wants to cultivate community connections, build trust, uproot injustices and transform the future of this amazing state we live in.

“To accomplish this, we must impact the lives of all 3.3 million Utahns and have a presence in all 29 Utah counties,” he said. “We plan to infuse interdisciplinary research that goes beyond STEM — research that includes the humanities, arts, education, social work, nursing, and so on.”

Randall plans to capitalize on what differentiates the U from any other school in the state, such as the U’s research expertise.

“For students who are making a choice between attending the U or another school, we want there to be no comparison,” Randall said.

According to Randall, students can travel to the U’s campus in Korea, get hands-on experience or assist with economic development projects in Ghana or learn great literature and architecture through our London Global U partnership.

He said he wants prospective students to immediately have “FOMO” after learning about the freshman experiences provided at the U.

“We want 80% of our freshmen to have these experiences, and then after their first year, rinse and repeat,” he said.

He added that the new name for this will be “Utah Fresh.”

“New experiences will be launched this fall for students interested in science, engineering, business, the arts and humanities, and social impact. Only at the University of Utah,” President Randall said.

In his inauguration speech, Randall said that moments like the Collective Day of Action held on March 22 are what are going to make the U a great institution.

“As I have walked around campus for the last six, seven, eight months, trying to understand its nuances, I have been completely inspired by what is here,” he said.

He concluded his speech by mentioning his three children who have graduated from the U and emphasizing the importance of education.

“So when I reimagine the University of Utah, I see inspiration, innovation and impact,” Randall said. “I hope you will all join me.”

The ceremony ended with a benediction from Pastor Robert A. Merrills.

A video of the inauguration is available on the U’s YouTube channel.


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