SUU Presidential Search Committee Named by Utah Board of Higher Education

Published: December 16, 2021 | Read Time: 3 minutes

SUU presidential search committee named by Utah Board of Higher EducationThe Utah Board of Higher Education has named a 21-member committee to conduct a national search for the next president of Southern Utah University. The Board named Mindy Benson as interim president of SUU effective July 2021, following Commissioner Dave R. Woolstenhulme’s announcement that then-SUU President Scott L. Wyatt had accepted the new position of Senior Executive Director of Statewide Online Education within the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.

The search committee will be co-chaired by Utah Board of Higher Education Vice Chair Nina Barnes and SUU Board of Trustees Chair Rich Christiansen. It is comprised of representatives from the Board of Higher Education, trustees and institutional stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, administration, alumni and community members.

“Southern Utah University’s deep community ties have led it to excel in its mission to provide quality higher education opportunities to its students and strengthen local and statewide economies,” said Nina Barnes, Vice Chair of the Utah Board of Higher Education. “The Board selected presidential search committee members from a pool of top-tier campus and community stakeholders and is grateful for their commitment over the next several months in the search for the next leader of SUU.”

Below is a complete list of the Southern Utah University Presidential Search Committee members:

Board of Higher Education

  • Nina R. Barnes, Vice Chair and Search Committee Co-Chair
  • Aaron Osmond, Vice Chair
  • Stacy Bettridge, Board member

Southern Utah University Board of Trustees

  • Rich Christiansen, Chair and Search Committee Co-Chair
  • Jodi Hart Wilson, Vice Chair
  • Beverly Burgess, Trustee

Southern Utah University Administration, Faculty and Staff

  • Kholoud Al-Qubbaj, Associate Professor of Humanities
  • Dan Camp, Staff Association President and Assistant Director of Purchasing
  • Rheana Gardner, Faculty Senate President; Associate Professor of Photography
  • Stuart Jones, Vice President for Advancement & Enrollment Management
  • Daneka Souberbielle, Associate Provost of Equity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
  • Camille Thomas, Interim Dean of the College of Health Sciences

Southern Utah University Students

  • Nouman Kante, Graduate student, Master of Public Administration; 2020-21 Student Body President; Student member, SUU Board of Trustees
  • Matthew Matheson, Undergraduate student, marketing; Marketing Club President

Community/Alumni Representatives

  • Scott Johnson, CFO, Valley Bank of Nevada
  • Jeff Larsen, Utah Shakespeare Festival Board Immediate Past Chair; Retired Senior Vice President of PacifiCorp and NV Energy Board of Directors
  • Myndee Kay Larsen, SUU Alumni President; SUU Trustee; Deputy Commissioner, The Summit League
  • Eric O. Leavitt, Executive Chairman & CEO, Leavitt Group
  • R. Scott Phillips, Council Member, Cedar City
  • Eric J. Schmutz, President & CEO, State Bank of Southern Utah
  • Georgia Beth Thompson, Retired, former SUU Vice President for Student Services


The Presidential Search Committee will host public forums over the coming weeks to obtain input from the Southern Utah University community and the general public on the presidential search. Details of these forums will be available in January 2022.

Based on feedback obtained in the public forums, the committee will approve a position announcement and call for nominations and applications with the assistance of a national search firm. The committee will then screen applications for the position and conduct interviews with candidates. After deliberating, the committee will recommend three to five semifinalists to the Board of Higher Education. The Board intends to name a new president by the fall of 2022 but will take the necessary time to find the most qualified candidate.

The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) is governed by the Utah Board of Higher Education and is comprised of Utah’s sixteen public colleges and universities. The CEO of USHE is the Commissioner of Higher Education. For more information, visit

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