Utah’s Higher Education Commissioner Resigns for New Opportunities

Higher Education

Dave R. Woolstenhulme, who served as the Utah Commissioner of Higher Education since 2019, has resigned from his position. Following his resignation, the Utah Board of Higher Education appointed Geoffrey Landward, Deputy Commissioner and Secretary to the Utah Board of Higher Education, as interim commissioner while a nationwide search is conducted for Woolstenhulme’s successor.

Geoffrey Landward has been with the Utah System of Higher Education for eight years and has extensive experience in executive leadership and legal expertise in administrative, education, and employment law. He is also a graduate of the J. Reuben Clark Law School of Brigham Young University.

Woolstenhulme’s tenure as commissioner saw significant developments in Utah’s higher education system, including the consolidation of degree-granting and technical institutions, managing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the renaming of Dixie State University to Utah Tech University. He was also involved in searches for new university and college presidents, including the selection of University of Utah President Taylor Randall and Utah State University President Betsy Cantwell.

Prior to serving as commissioner, Woolstenhulme held positions at Utah State University, including Vice President of Regional Campuses, and is an alumnus of USU, holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the university, as well as a doctorate from the University of Wyoming.

Woolstenhulme cited pursuing other professional opportunities as the reason for his resignation and expressed pride in the accomplishments achieved during his tenure, including the merging of two higher education systems under a single system in accordance with SB111 passed by the Utah Legislature in 2020.

The Utah Board of Higher Education underwent significant changes in board membership earlier in the year, with Utah Governor Spencer Cox appointing an entirely new slate of members to the 10-member board.

Woolstenhulme joins a list of previous Utah commissioners of higher education, including notable figures like G. Homer Durham, T.H. Bell, and Cecelia H. Foxley, among others.

The Utah Board of Higher Education expressed its commitment to a seamless transition and continued focus on student success and collaboration across the higher education system.

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