UVU President announces calling to serve LDS Mission; will leave school June 2018

OREM, Utah – Utah Valley University President Dr. Matthew S. Holland is leaving the school, and will serve as a mission president for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Holland sat down with Fox 13’s Tamara Vaifanua to talk about his legacy as he begins this new chapter.

Holland was appointed Utah Valley University's 6th president, 9 years ago. During his tenure, he oversaw growing enrollment and academic programs. There are currently, more than 37,000 students enrolled, making it the largest university in the state. During his tenure, academic offerings expanded to 44 certificate programs, 62 associate degrees, 84 bachelor degrees, three graduate certificates, and eight master degrees.

“We've so loved our time at UVU. It's been such a rewarding experience,” said Holland.

The location of his mission has yet to be determined, but Holland says it will be an English speaking mission. He’ll step down as UVU president in June of 2018.

“It wasn't something that I was seeking or looking for but the call has been extended and we are absolutely thrilled and honored by it," Holland said.

Governor Gary R. Herbert issued the following statement:

Matt and Paige Holland are wonderful, dedicated people, whom Jeanette and I consider dear friends. Over the last nine years, the Hollands have lead Utah Valley University to extraordinary heights. We are grateful for their wholehearted and visionary service in improving higher education here in Utah, and send them our best wishes as they dedicate the next few years of their lives to serving the LDS church.

Becoming an administrator wasn’t something that Holland, a former faculty member, set out to do. It wasn’t easy. There were plenty of naysayers who didn’t buy into his goal of retaining a community college tradition, while building a teaching university.

“There was a sense oh you're growing too fast, you don't have enough money, and if you're really gonna be a university you've got to look a certain way,” said Holland.

Holland doubled the footprint of the campus with the acquisition of 225 acres on the old Geneva Steel site in Vineyard.

He more than doubled the size of the school’s endowment, and raised more cash donations and pledges than was previously raised in the history of the school.

“We've tried to be innovative. We've tried to be responsive to the community. We've tried to focus on student success more than any other thing,” said Holland.

Among his proudest achievements is creating an inclusive campus. Dr. Kyle A. Reyes was the school’s diversity officer, and special assistant to Holland for inclusion. He was recently tapped as Vice President for Student Affairs. Holland hopes his replacement will carry on this tradition.

“This is a very dynamic place. It's growing. I think it's going to be a very attractive new job,” he said.

Utah Board of Regents will begin a national search for Holland's successor, and expects to have them in place by next summer.