University of Utah Leader to Become President of Strada Impact in April

University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins announced that she has accepted a position as president of Strada Impact, where she will drive Strada Education Network’s national research, philanthropy, policy, and thought leadership with the goal of improving students’ access to college, degree completion and career connections. President Watkins will step down from her position at the university in April.

“I believe the work of Strada Impact is more important today than ever before because completing college and securing employment will be especially crucial for millions of young Americans post-pandemic,” Watkins stated in a letter to the campus community.

“Ruth Watkins has been an exemplary leader for the University of Utah and for the entire Utah System of Higher Education during her tenure as president,” said Harris H. Simmons, chairman of the Utah Board of Higher Education. “Among other accomplishments, under her leadership, the university’s students achieved a dramatic increase in degree completion, total research grants increased significantly, and the U was admitted to the prestigious Association of American Universities. We will greatly miss President Watkins’ authentic, intelligent, and personable leadership. At the same time, we wish her great success in her new role.”

Dr. Watkins became the sixteenth president of the University of Utah in 2018. She is the only woman to serve as the permanent president of the university in its 170-year history.

From 2013 to 2018, Dr. Watkins served as the senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Utah. Earlier in her career, she served for 20 years on the faculty at the University of Illinois. There, she was associate provost for undergraduate education, vice provost and chief of staff, and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Watkins is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, where she majored in speech-language pathology. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in child language development from the University of Kansas.

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