EDUCATION

University Of Utah Inaugurates First Woman President

Sep 21, 2018, 8:34 PM | Updated: 8:37 pm
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The University of Utah made history on Friday by inaugurating Ruth Watkins as its first woman president.

Although her tenure began in April as the school’s 16h president, the ceremony in Kingsbury Hall marked the official start of Watkins’ administration.

After receiving a standing ovation, Watkins said in her keynote address that being born to college-educated parents greatly influenced her life. She said it’s time to offer that same opportunity to even more students.

“What are we doing now that will make a college education possible and meaningful for coming generations of students?” Watkins said. “What do we owe those who are coming of age today in America?”

Watkins said she believes the university has a duty to transform the educational system for the current century.

“I am honored to have the privilege to lead at this time of great acceleration at the University of Utah,” Watkins said in a prepared statement to the media. “As a research university with an academic medical center located on a single campus, we are uniquely positioned to leverage our tradition of collaborative and innovative work in a way that impacts Utah, the nation and the world for good.”

Watkins has been at the University of Utah since 2013 as the senior vice president for Academic Affairs. Previously, she held various faculty and leadership positions for two decades at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

The inauguration ceremony included messages of praise and congratulations for Watkins from state and education leaders.

“Since taking the helm of the university in April, President Watkins has continued to emphasize the strength of the university, its responsibility to be the university for Utah and a place that strives to be welcoming and inclusive for people from all backgrounds, and its focus on providing an exceptional educational experience to students while maintaining the value they have come to expect,” David Burton, chair of the University of Utah Board of Trustees, said in a press release.

To commemorate the historic event, the university published well-wishes from several campus leaders. The messages can be found at: https://attheu.utah.edu/facultystaff/congratulations-president-watkins/

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University Of Utah Inaugurates First Woman President