Finalists Announced for New SUU President

Published: November 18, 2013 | Read Time: 6 minutes

The State Board of Regents announced today the four finalists who will interview for the position of President of Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. The Presidential Search Committee conducted a national search and considered nearly 70 potential candidates. The finalists were recommended after an in-depth screening process and very careful interviews.

“We have received a great deal of public input over the past few months, and now the Southern Utah University Presidential Search Committee is pleased to advance the names of these four highly qualified finalists,” said Search Committee Chair, Regent Mark Stoddard. “The involvement of SUU’s faculty, students and staff, along with the larger community has been tremendous throughout this search process. We look forward to speaking with these candidates further as the Board of Regents moves closer to finding a new leader for SUU’s vibrant and highly engaged campus community.”

After months of soliciting input through public meetings, online submissions and the 21-member Presidential Search Committee, the Board of Regents will interview the following finalists (in alphabetical order):

Dr. Don Capener, Dean and Endowed Chair, Jacksonville University, Florida since 2011. Dr. Capener currently holds the McGehee Endowed Chair in the Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University. In this position he has raised $1.5 million to launch a new doctoral program and enrich technology and hybrid education. He has also designed a successful corporate engagement strategy and implemented a graduate recruitment plan for the business college. Dr. Capener spent 11 years at Monmouth College in Illinois, where he served as Vice President for Strategic Planning and Chief Marketing Officer, Interim Vice President of Enrollment, Chair of the Curriculum Committee, and Associate Professor of Marketing. He was selected as Professor of the Year in 2006 and received the Hatch Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005. Dr. Capener also has significant private sector experience, serving as Senior Vice President and Director of Client services for the marketing firm Euro RSCG and as Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Netcentives, a Silicon Valley start-up. Dr. Capener holds a BA in Political Science from Brigham Young University, an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management, and a PhD from the International School of Management in Paris.

Dr. Bradley J. Cook, Provost and Executive Vice President of Southern Utah University since 2009. Dr. Cook currently serves as the chief academic officer for SUU, where he oversees academic policy and priorities. He also administers the budgets for all of the university’s academic units. As Provost, Cook has advanced an ambitious academic agenda to establish SUU as a national leader in student-centric, highly engaged learning. He has been the primary architect for SUU’s strategic planning process, through which has strengthened the academic climate of the campus. Under Dr. Cook’s leadership, the graduation rate at SUU has increased by 16 percent and its retention rate by 5 percent. Before coming to SUU, Dr. Cook spent four years in the United Arab Emirates as president of Abu Dhabi Women’s College. He also served as Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of History and Political Science, and Vice President for Advancement and College Relations at Utah Valley University between 1999 and 2006. He is the author of one book and 15 peer-reviewed articles, and received the 2013 Outstanding Paper Award from the Emerald Literati Networks. Dr. Cook holds a BA with honors in International Relations and MA with high honors in Social Science of Education from Stanford University. He earned a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Oxford.

Dr. Lisa A. Rossbacher, President, Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia since 1998. When Dr. Rossbacher became president of SPSU in 1998, she was the first woman geologist to serve as a university president in North America. Since then, the university has doubled its enrollment, tripled its on-campus housing, and maintained its ranking of having the third or fourth highest SAT scores for entering freshmen among the 31 institutions in the University System of Georgia. President Rossbacher has worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, a geothermal exploration company, and National Public Radio, in addition to serving as a faculty member and administrator at California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, Whittier College, and Dickinson College. She has also served as interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer for the University System of Georgia, with responsibility for academic issues affecting 260,000 students and 10,000 faculty members. Dr. Rossbacher graduated summa cum laude with a BS in Geology from Dickinson College, received an MA in Geological Sciences from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and holds an MA and PhD in Geological Sciences from Princeton University.

Scott L. Wyatt, President of Snow College since 2007. President Wyatt has led Snow College in fundraising, growth initiatives, and strategic planning, including approval of its first four-year degree program, construction of the Karen H. Huntsman Library, and a new 400-bed student-housing complex. His administration has raised more money for the College, over the last six years, than has been raised during any comparable time in the College’s history. He has overseen the enhancement of the College brand and led the College to a 40% increase in student enrollments over the past five years. He has also guided the realignment of Snow’s career and technical education programs to better fit local workforce and economic development needs. During his tenure, Snow College has been consistently ranked in the top 10% of two-year colleges in the U.S. by the Aspen Institute and number six in the nation for college completion by CNN Money. Prior to his appointment as president of Snow College, Wyatt was a partner in the Logan law firm Daines & Wyatt, LLP. He served in the Utah legislature for two terms, where he was a member of the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee. He also served on the board of trustees for Snow College and Utah State University, and was the student member of the State Board of Regents. He has taught political science, ethics and education law courses. President Wyatt holds a BS in Philosophy and Economics from Utah State University and a JD from the University of Utah.

The finalists will be on the Southern Utah University campus Thursday, November 21, 2013, to meet privately with groups representing faculty, staff, students, and administration. On Friday, November 22, the Board of Regents will interview the finalists in a closed session. The Board may convene a public meeting at 4:00 p.m. that day to select the President in the Gilbert Great Hall located within the Hunter Conference Center. Doors to the Great Hall will open at 3:45 p.m. and guests are welcome to arrive earlier in case deliberations move faster than expected. A reception will follow at 5 p.m. The Board of Regents may, however, convene at another time, which will be announced at a later date. 


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USHE includes all of Utah’s eight public colleges and universities: The University of Utah, Utah State University, Weber State University, Southern Utah University, Snow College, Dixie State University, Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College. For more information on the Utah System of Higher Education, visit our website at

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