Snow College presidential finalists announced
By Robert Green
EPRHAIM—Four finalists who have been selected to replace retiring Snow College President Gary Carlston will meet the public in an open forum on Thursday afternoon in the Huntsman Library Auditorium.
“After receiving a great deal of public input over the past few months, the Snow College Presidential Search Committee is pleased to advance the names of these four highly-qualified finalists,” said Mark Stoddard, Regent and search committee co-chair. “We look forward to the Regents having the opportunity to fully consider these candidates as they work to select a new leader for Snow College.”
Each of the finalists will speak and answer questions from the audience for about an hour on Thursday, starting at 1 p.m., said Marci Larsen, the president’s assistant.
The forum is a way for Snow College students and Sanpete County residents to meet and get acquainted with their next president, she said.
The new president will then be chosen by the Utah Board of Regents in a closed session on Friday and introduced at a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. in Founders Hall in the Noyes Building.
The man chosen for the job will start out earning about $215,000 a year, Larsen said. This is a similar amount that retiring President Carlston has been paid.
One the biggest challenges facing the new president will face is to increase enrollment, which has been flat for the past few years, Larsen said.
The finalists were selected from a pool of 30 to 40 candidates; and they went through a rigorous screening process from a 22-member search committee appointed by the Board of Regents. Larsen was involved in the search and said there were no internal favorites and all finalists were selected solely on their qualifications.
Gary Carlston and his wife Janet are leaving Snow College after leading the school since 2014. He will remain in his position until May 17. He was Snow College’s 16th president. The school was founded by pioneer settlers in 1988 and named after Lorenzo and Erastus Snow.
The finalists are:
• Steven J. Hood, who will speak at 1 p.m.
• Val L. Peterson, who will speak at 2 p.m.
• Bradley J. Cook, who will speak at 3 p.m.
• Courtney R. White, who will speak at 4 p.m.
Here is a brief biographical sketch of each candidate:
Bradley J. Cook is the provost at Southern Utah University, and is an alum of Snow College and a native of central Utah. He has worked to establish SUU as a national leader in student-centric, highly applied learning environments and has advanced an agenda of internationalizing the university.
Under his leadership, SUU has achieved record high student success rates, created over 25 new academic programs and centers, and elevated SUU’s academic reputation among public regional universities in the Intermountain West.
Prior to his current position, he served as president of the Abu Dhabi Women’s College in the United Arab Emirates, and eight years at then-Utah Valley State College as vice president of college relations and later as vice president of academic affairs. Cook has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and a doctorate from the University of Oxford in England.
Steven J. Hood has served as the vice president for academic affairs at Snow College since 2013. He has been instrumental in helping make it easier to transfer credits to four-year universities.
He also spent 27 years at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania as a professor of politics. At Ursinus, he served as department chair, assistant dean and director of the first-year liberal education program.
In addition to academics, Hood was part of a team that worked with underrepresented student groups from
rural and urban areas in Pennsylvania. He was awarded two Fulbright Fellowships (Taiwan and Peru), the Laughlin Award for Scholarship (1993), and the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (2001). Hood holds bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University and a doctorate from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Val L. Peterson is the vice president of finance and administration at Utah Valley University. His administrative responsibilities include facilities, finance, information technology, general counsel, emergency services, athletics and internal audit.
Peterson started at then-Utah Valley Community College in 1987 and has served in a variety of capacities such as associate vice president for college relations and vice president for college relations.
He retired from the Utah National Guard as a brigadier general after 32 years of service. He currently serves in the Utah House of Representatives from District 59. Peterson has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, a master’s degree from the United States War College, and a doctorate from Brigham Young University.
Courtney R. White is the chief of staff at Dixie State University where he advises the president supervises the strategic plan implementation, which focuses on student success and access. Since 2014 he has been adjunct faculty with the Southern Utah University master’s of public administration program.
He previously served as the lobbyist for the University of Oregon and held a similar external relations position with the Utah Education Association.
His prior professional assignments include work at the Nevada, Oregon and Utah Systems of Higher Education, most recently as an assistant commissioner.
He earned an associate’s degree from Snow College, a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University, a master’s degree from the University of Utah, and a law degree from the University of Oregon. He grew up in Ephraim.