The Utah State Board of Regents appointed Richard E. Kendell as interim president of Southern Utah University on May 17, 2013. Born in Ogden, Utah, Kendell was raised only a few blocks from what is now the campus of Weber State University.
Kendell got his first taste of teaching at Ogden High School where he taught English. He then moved forward and served as superintendent of Davis School District in Farmington, Utah and also as Utah Associate Superintendent of Public Instruction. Kendell was a faculty member of the University of Utah, where he taught courses in both public and higher education administration. Kendell spent time in the private sector as a research and development director for WICAT Educational Systems and as a project manager for health care facilities for the Boyer Company.
With an extensive background in education, Kendell has gone on to serve as Deputy for Public Education, Higher Education and Economic Development for Governor Mike Leavitt. During his tenure, he helped initiate six early college high schools (high tech high schools) with a $3.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Along with an advisory board appointed by Governor Leavitt he developed the initial programs for the Professional Educator Job Enhancement Program, intended to attract and retain a stronger corps of math and science teachers. Following his service with Governor Leavitt he was appointed by the Utah Board of Regents as Commissioner of Higher Education for Utah beginning in 2003 and concluding in January 2008. During this time he was involved in USTAR legislation, the creation of the K-16 Alliance, and the development of the Regents Scholarship.
His work in education has been acknowledged by several organizations. While Davis District Superintendent the Utah Education Association named him Administrator of the Year. Later he was named by his colleagues as Utah’s Superintendent of the Year and was one of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year. The newly constructed Davis School District Administration Building was named the Richard E. Kendell Building in honor of his distinguished service as the district’s superintendent.
In higher education, he was honored by the Trustees of Weber State University with the Lewis W. Shurtleff award in 2003 and an honorary doctorate of humanities degree in 2008. In 2007, the Trustees of Southern Utah University created the Richard E. Kendell endowed chair in education and public policy.
At the University of Utah, the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy awarded him the 2005 Educational Leadership Award and in 2009 the University of Utah Alumni Association recognized him as a distinguished alumnus at the annual Founders Day celebration.
On a more personal level, Richard and his wife, Joan, are the parents of four children and 14 grandchildren. Children and spouses, with one exception, all hold degrees from the University of Utah. Joan has also spent time in education as an elementary school teacher and an advisor for a Native American tutoring program. She was also a scorekeeper for the Utah Jazz.
Both Richard and Joan love sports and are avid tennis and golf players. Both are avid skiers but the triple black diamonds are a thing of the past. Traveling, music and the theatre balance out their very active lives.