U of U president David Pershing stepping down

SALT LAKE CITY -- University of Utah's President David Pershing announced he will be stepping down and will return as part of the faculty at the end of a presidential search.

In December 2016, Pershing had expressed the need to conclude his service at the end of the 2018 academic year, but since the start of a search for a new vice president, Pershing thought it was best to start his presidential search sooner rather than later.

"Given the fact that we are launching a search for a new Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, I thought it important to begin the search for a new president now — to run simultaneously with our SVP search — so that we have a new president in place when we are making the final decision on a Health Sciences SVP," Pershing said.

Pershing will work with Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Ruth Watkins and interim Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Lorris Betz to create a smooth transition for two key roles.

Gov. Gary Herbert reacted in a statement:

I have appreciated President Pershing’s careful stewardship of the University of Utah over these last five years. He has championed significant improvements in STEM education and guided major campus improvements that will bless the lives of students for decades to come, including the Thomas S. Monson Center, Marriott Honors Residential Community and the innovative Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. President Pershing has accomplished all of this while overseeing the U’s successful transition into the PAC-12. His steady leadership will be important through this time of transition.

According to a press release, the presidential search will take approximately one year.