University of Akron President Matthew Wilson named finalist for president of Utah Valley University

AKRON, Ohio – University of Akron President Matthew Wilson has been named a finalist for president of Utah Valley University.

The Utah State Board of Regents, which will appoint the new president, announced Thursday that Wilson is one of four finalists. Utah Valley University is a public university in Orem, with an enrollment of about 37,000 students. It is the largest public university in the state.

Wilson announced in March, shortly after he was passed over for president of Central Florida University, that he would step down as president in Akron and rejoin UA’s School of Law, effective July 31.

He said he made the decision because he wanted to spend more time with his family and reflect on his future. He also acknowledged that his interest in another presidency led trustees to question his commitment to Akron.

Wilson had said he sought the UCF presidency due to his family’s roots in the Orlando area and the opportunities to lead the largest university in the country.

His current quest for a presidency is in the state where he was raised. Wilson grew up in Salt Lake City and earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and asian studies from the University of Utah. 

Utah Valley University President Matthew Holland announced last November that he has been called to serve as a mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints starting in July 2018.

The other finalists to succeed Holland are Bradly Cook, provost at Southern Utah University and a history professor; John Rosenberg, the Washington Irving Professor of Spanish and American Relations at Brigham Young University; and Astrid Tuminez, the regional director for corporate, external and legal affairs in southeast Asia for Microsoft.

Wilson and the other finalists will visit the campus on April 19. 

“The Board was aware that President Wilson might be included in a different university’s search for a president,” Roland Bauer, chair of the Unversity of Akron’s board of trustees said in a news release. “We wish him well in this current opportunity.

“As we have stated previously, we — the Board and University of Akron leadership — are focused on building on our many strengths, addressing our challenges and making UA even more distinctive,” Bauer added. “That commitment is shown in our expedited process to select someone to serve as interim president, and it will enable us to have a smooth transition and launch a national search.”

Wilson, who arrived at Akron in 2014 as dean of the law school, was appointed interim president in July 2016 for a term of 18 months. He replaced Scott Scarborough, who resigned as president in May 2016 after a tumultuous tenure. 

Three months later, trustees named Wilson permanent president. Last fall, trustees extended Wilson’s contract through June 30, 2023

During his tenure, Wilson has engaged with constituencies, helped increase enrollment and stabilized a budget that had significant deficits, officials said.