Utah Tech University president announces departure after a decade of service

Utah Tech University President Richard “Biff” Williams announced today that he will step down effective Jan. 5, 2024, to pursue other professional opportunities. UT Associate Vice President of Executive Affairs and Chief of Staff Courtney White will be named interim president, subject to board approval.

“I am beyond grateful for my tenure at Utah Tech,” Williams said. “What we have built, experienced and accomplished together is nothing short of remarkable. Our collective success is a testament to what a group of people with passion, skill and purpose can achieve.”

Williams is currently interviewing for administrative positions at other institutions of higher learning. Understanding how presidential searches are often lengthy and public processes, Williams said he is focusing on his future opportunities while allowing the Utah Board of Higher Education to secure a new president by the beginning of Utah Tech’s fall semester.

“President Williams has overseen one of the most successful, impactful and unprecedented eras of growth of any institution of higher learning in the nation,” Tiffany Wilson, chair of UT’s Board of Trustees, said. “His leadership and vision will be tremendously missed, but he will always be remembered as the ultimate Trailblazer.”

Williams’ career at Utah Tech began in 2014, the year following its designation as a university. As president, he has facilitated the addition of more than 200 academic programs including the institution’s first graduate degrees, increased student enrollment by 42 percent and grew scholarship funding by 90 percent. Additionally, he led Traiblazer Athletics to Division I status, dramatically increased donations to the institution and oversaw the construction or renovation of 42 campus facilities.

Williams guided the institution in becoming one of the nation’s only open, inclusive, comprehensive, polytechnic universities. As part of this mission, he formed partnerships with industry leaders to inform curriculum and prepare graduates to meet workforce demands. Also, in the past year alone, Williams was named one of the Most Inspiring Thought Leaders Transforming Education by “Insights Success,” included in the Top 10 Inspiring CEOs by “Industry Era” and added to the Marquis Who’s Who Biographical Registry.

“The Utah Board of Higher Education extends its gratitude to President Williams for his years of service and contributions to Utah Tech University,” said Amanda Covington, Board of Higher Education chair. “As we enter this transitional period, I am confident in White’s considerable leadership experience within USHE, and the positive impact he can bring to the UT campus community. I look forward to considering his appointment as interim.”

The Utah Board of Higher Education will begin a comprehensive national search for Utah Tech’s 19th president, as the board has purview over the appointment of presidents within the Utah System of Higher Education.