Two New VPs join Wyatt Administration

Published: December 02, 2014 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Southern Utah University President Scott L Wyatt made great progress in completing the University’s administrative team this week when he announced Dr. Jared Tippets as the University’s new vice president for student services and promoted longtime Thunderbird Mindy Benson as the University’s first vice president for alumni and community relations.

Dr. Jared TippetsTippets, who comes to SUU from Purdue University where he is the director of student success, was selected following an extensive national search that drew a pool of 62 applicants from across the country. Tippets has led many retention and completion initiatives at Purdue and said he is looking forward to enhancing student support and success measures at SUU.

Said Tippets, “I passionately accept President Wyatt’s charge to retain and graduate more students and ensure that every student has an outstanding experience from arrival to graduation.”

Tippets has worked in both the student affairs and academic sides of higher education administration and said he views student services as a partner to academics. His broadened perspective should prove useful as the University finds meaningful ways to connect students’ experiences in the classroom with their lives outside of the classroom.

He has a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Kentucky where his dissertation topic was Organizational Change in Higher Education. Tippets is originally from Bountiful, Utah and received a B.S. in Business Information Systems from Utah State University.

As part of the selection process, the search committee set up several interviews and forums where university employees had a chance to interact with the finalists and offer input to help inform the final decision. The forums included University College employees, Student Services employees, faculty, and students. Almost 100 employees submitted written comments regarding the various candidates, which were reviewed by the committee prior to making a final decision.

Wyatt also appointed Mindy Benson to the University’s newly created position vice president for alumni and community relations.

Mindy BensonOver the last 19 years Benson has progressed through a variety of positions, including director of student life and leadership and executive director of alumni relations. She is a professional event planner and has produced a range of concerts and other productions nationally.

The new vice president position was created to streamline the University’s community outreach and better integrate community input into University operations.

In this regard, Bensons said she is ready and excited.

“Everything I have done up to this point has been paving the way for this position,” Benson explained. “All the students I have worked with over the years are now alumni or community members and are ready to reengage with the University.”

In this post Benson will oversee new outreach measures to better connect the campus regional community.

“Mindy will be a great asset in our efforts to reach out to and serve the community,” said Wyatt, who noted the new position did not require additional administrative staff funding. Rather, Wyatt spread responsibilities from a previously vacant cabinet-level position across his remaining cabinet members to fill this new priority.

“I think this position shows how important the community and our alumni are to this president,” Benson noted. “President Wyatt wants to make sure they have a voice, and that is exciting to me because I’ve seen that voice diminish over time.” Benson, a Cedar City native whose ties to the University go back generations, said she is excited to now represent her own community within the university she loves.

Benson, who resumed her new post upon appointment this week, now oversees Alumni Relations, Regional Services (which encompasses Head Start and Early Intervention, the Utah Center for Rural Health and the Business Resource Center and Small Business Development Center), Utah Summer Games, Community Outreach & Summer Conferences, and Special Events (such as commencement, homecoming and concerts).

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