University Of Utah Names Former School Of Business Dean Taylor Randall As Next President
Taylor Randall is the University of Utah’s new president.
Officials with the Utah System of Higher Education made the announcement Thursday evening. They noted he beat out over 2,500 candidates from around the world, including two out-of-state finalists.
Randall said he has “big ambitions” for the university and will strive to make it the most inclusive school in the state.
“At the end of the day, we will be measured by our humanity and who we cared for and who we brought in, not those who we left behind,” he said.
Randall has a long history at the university, having attended as an undergrad before receiving an MBA and Ph.D. in operations and information management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School.
He joined the U faculty in 1999 as an accounting professor and was named dean of the David Eccles School of Business in 2009.
Harris Simmons, USHE chair, praised Randall for his work to expand the reach and reputation of the business school. He said Randall increased scholarship funds for business students, created a financial-aid program for first-generation and underrepresented students and increased tenure-track positions for female faculty.
Randall is taking over for former president Ruth Watkins, who announced in January she was leaving to join a national education nonprofit.
Watkins earned a reputation as a master fundraiser and helped boost graduation rates at the U. But she also faced criticism for the way she handled U student athlete Lauren McCluskey’s murder, which led to student mistrust of the administration.
In a presentation to the campus community Wednesday, Randall fielded questions about how he would address ongoing concerns about campus safety, diversity and housing insecurity.
He said his role will be to listen first to understand issues and find solutions.
“I have a lot of experience in trying to design and change culture,” he said. “It's hard work. It's a lot of conversations. It's putting the right people around the table. I hope we could do that.”
The student safety group Unsafe U said it opposes Randall’s hiring. The group formed in the wake of McCluskey’s murder and has criticized the university for a lack of transparency around its investigation of the case. Students with the group hoped for a candidate outside the university and said they’ll be filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education in the coming months.