University of Utah inaugurates first woman president

Sep 21, 2018, 7:41 PM
University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins speaks to the audience after being inaugurated as the ...
University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins speaks to the audience after being inaugurated as the university's 16th president during a ceremony at Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY —  The first woman president of the University of Utah is officially on the job. Ruth V. Watkins, the U’s 16th president, was inaugurated this afternoon at Kingsbury Hall on the university’s campus.

Watkins has served as the school’s unofficial president since April, but takes the job today in full. Prior to this posting, Watkins served five years as the senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the U, and 20 years before that at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in a range of faculty and leadership roles. Watkins says it’s an honor to lead a school like the U.

“We have proudly moved to the top tier of public universities in the country,” says Watkins. “Attracting world-class faculty who engage in groundbreaking research, and draw inquisitive, smart, creative students who are the change-makers, innovators, and leaders of our future.”

Watkins took the opportunity to thank her supporters, and share her faith in the University of Utah’s vision.

“Our aim is simple. Every student who comes to the U will have an exceptional educational experience, and they will complete their degrees,” says Watkins.

Several university officials, students, and faculty shared their excitement about Watkins’ leadership — wishing her luck, and welcoming a new era at the University of Utah.


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University of Utah inaugurates first woman president