Interim President Announced

Published: August 01, 2006 | Read Time: 6 minutes

The Utah State Board of Regents Chair Nolan E. Karras has announced that Gregory Lynn Stauffer will serve as the interim president of Southern Utah University. Stauffer will assume his duties in mid to late May once current president, Steven Bennion, leaves office to lead the New York City South Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bennion has led SUU for nearly nine years.

The announcement of Dr. Stauffer’s appointment came during the Regents regular meetings, this time at the College of Eastern Utah, in Price. The announcement also included the names of the people on the committee who will be responsible for conducting the search and selection of a replacement for President Bennion.

Dr. Stauffer has been serving as SUU’s Vice President for Administrative and Financial Services since 1995, and moves into this interim position with 27 years of varied higher education administrative experience at five different institutions across the mid-west and western United States.

Over the years, he has served as VP for Administrative and Financial Affairs, as Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, Acting Athletic Director, Assistant Dean—College of Arts & Sciences, Budget Director, and Analyst, among others.

“I believe Gregory Stauffer will lead the university in the right direction as the search for President Bennion’s replacement continues,” said Karras. “The Regents consider their duty of presidential selections of utmost importance because the institutional president is a cornerstone to the community he or she serves. Our aim is to select the best qualified candidate for the position.”

As chief fiscal officer for SUU, Dr. Stauffer has reported directly to two different presidents, providing executive leadership for business and financial services, operating and capital budgets, institutional investments, and physical resources in order to ensure fiscal stability of the institution.

Dr. Stauffer is excited about his new leadership opportunity. “What an exciting time [this is] for the University as we push ahead with a renewed emphasis and new initiatives aimed at increasing service to SUU’s region, while at the same time expanding our academic degree programs and receiving several additional and important national accreditation recognitions.” He continues, “I, along with my faculty and staff colleagues, will be driven in our focus to turn the absolutely best campus possible over to SUU’s next president.”

Currently, he also oversees the University’s division l-AA intercollegiate athletics program, human resources, facilities management, capital facilities, purchasing, business and fiscal operations. As a member of the President’s Council he has advised presidents on all policy and operational matters impacting the institution. He has served on numerous committees with the Board of Regents, the Board of Trustees, and across the campus.

Outgoing President Bennion’s entire tenure at SUU has been with VP Stauffer. He regards Stauffer as bright, perceptive, good-humored, and a loyal employee with exceptionally good listening skills. “His professional work ethic is terrific. He communicates openly and has the ability to think out of the box.”

Stauffer adds, “As a dynamic organization, SUU must continue forging ahead with its initiatives and address new challenges and opportunities afforded it during this transitional period. Building on the campus’s present momentum, the talents and passion of SUU’s people ensures our continued progress, fueling our endeavors to be recognized every-increasingly as a vibrant university.”

Immediately prior to his service at SUU Dr. Stauffer served four years as the Vice President for Administration and Finance and as Professor of Business at Peru State College in eastern Nebraska. There, he had duties very similar to his current post, with 13 different divisions reporting to him. He also represented the College in the appropriate councils of the Nebraska State College System, served on the President’s Cabinet, the Strategic Planning Committee and North Central Accreditation Committee.

At Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, he served as Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, assisting with coordination, direction and supervision of academic programs. He had primary responsibility for academic personnel management including faculty recruiting activities, contract preparation, maintenance of academic personnel records, and institutional studies preparation. He also directly supervised the academic support areas, including: the academic computer center, international center, library, art museum, and public television station.

Part of his assignments also included a role as Assistant Dean for the College of Arts & Sciences where he coordinated budget, staffing, and long-range planning activities. He administered evening, summer, intersession, and off-campus academic programs. Stauffer also took the helm of athletics as acting Athletic Director during a transitional period. He served on a long list of committees while at Washburn including chair of the Faculty Research, Curriculum Development, Research Review and Faculty Salary Study.

Stauffer had a short stint as Assistant Budget Director at the University of Idaho, and during an earlier tenure at Washburn was a Budget Analyst and Assistant Comptroller. He was also a graduate assistant for Finance and General Business at Southwest Missouri State University. He has a lengthy list of professional organization memberships, publications and presentations.

His academic preparation is equally impressive. He graduated as a summa cum laude School of Business Scholar with Honors and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Washburn University. He earned his MBA at Missouri State University and his Ed.D. at the University of Kansas. He was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Epsilon and won the Wall Street Journal and Clifford B. Scott Key awards.

Like many southern Utah residents, Dr. Stauffer was drawn to the region through his affinity for the boundless opportunities the region presents. Combining his interests in sports and outdoor recreational activities with his photographic skills provides many occasions to expand his creative energies. He is a consummate landscape photographer and has held several displays on campus, in the community and in various locations in the Intermountain West. He has a passion for international travel, which affords him an appreciation for differing perspectives and frames of reference in global relationships. He enjoys snowshoeing, hiking, rock crawling and taking pictures at countless sporting events. His enthusiasm for new experiences often leads him in innovative directions—his hallmark.

Karras also announced the appointment of a 20-member search committee that will assist the Board of Regents in selecting the new president. Regent David J. Grant will chair the search, joined by Regents Jerry Atkin and Meghan Holbrook. Other committee members include SUU Board of Trustees Chair Dwayne Nielson and Trustees Dane Leavitt and Anne Judd. Institutional and community representatives are also on the committee.
The search committee will hold public meetings next month where college faculty, staff, students and community members may provide input to help define the selection criteria. Details of the meetings will be announced later.

The committee will establish a candidate pool and recommend finalists to the Board of Regents. Under Regents’ policy, the names of the finalists will be released to the public prior to a series of private interviews. A new president should be selected by the end of the year.
A complete list of the committee follows.

David Grant, Search Committee Chair
Jerry Atkin
Meg Holbrook

Dwayne Nielson, Chair of SUU Board of Trustees
Dane Leavitt
Anne Judd

Faculty and Staff
Rodney Decker, Dean, College of Humanities & Social Sciences
Kevin Robinson, Associate Professor of Elementary Education, president-elect of Faculty Senate
Helen Chuang Boswell, Associate Professor of Biology
Stephen Evans, Professor of Finance, past president of Faculty Senate
John Ault, Professor of Psychology
Mindy Benson, Director of Student Leadership
Annette Murray, Financial Aid Counselor, past president of Staff Association

Steve Kiisel, SUUSA president
Jill Stevens

Community and Alumni Representatives
John Yardley
Rich Wilson
Nina Barnes
Mark Russell
Tim Fenton

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