Regents name new president for Dixie State University

Dr. Richard "Biff" Williams and Kristen Williams, the former named as president of Dixie State University. Ceremony held at the Burns Arena, St. George, Utah, , Oct. 23, 2014| Photo courtesy of DSU Public Relations Director Steve Johnson, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Utah State Board of Regents held ceremony in the Zion Room of the Holland Centennial Commons at Dixie State University Thursday, naming Dr. Richard “Biff” Williams as the 18th president of DSU.

Utah Board of Regents announces Dr. Richard "Biff" Williams president of Dixie State University. Ceremony held at the Zion Room of the Holland Centennial Commons, DSU, St. George, Utah, July 17, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News
Utah Board of Regents announces Dr. Richard “Biff” Williams president of Dixie State University. DSU, St. George, Utah, July 17, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

Selection of Williams for the presidency is the product of a nationwide search that began in January after then President Stephen Nadauld announced in October 2013 that he would resign at the end of the 2013-14 academic term.

The torch passes from one very capable president to another, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Stephen Caplin said. The No. 1 ground rule for selecting the president was to not look for a replacement for former President Stephen Nadauld. Williams was chosen particularly because of his commitment to students, he said.

The Nadaulds presented Williams with a package of “Dixie spirit,” a basket filled with DSU regalia.

“Dr. Richard Williams brings extensive experience and a high level of professionalism that will be an asset to Dixie State University and the Utah System of Higher Education as a whole,” regents Chair Dan Campbell said.

“Becoming president just organically evolved,” Williams said. “We are very excited and this has been something we’ve been hoping for and I’m happy they were willing to hire me.”

The presidential search committee, chaired by Regent Wilford Clyde, consisted of 22 members who narrowed the list down from an applicant pool of over 40 to the three finalists announced last week. The finalists went through an in-depth screening process and two days of interviews with representatives from DSU’s faculty, staff, students and administration, as well as interviews with the Board of Regents.

Dr. Richard "Biff" Williams, right, greets people after being named president of Dixie State University. Ceremony held at the Zion Room of the Holland Centennial Commons, DSU, St. George, Utah, July 17, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News
Dr. Richard “Biff” Williams, right, greets people after being named president of Dixie State University. DSU, St. George, Utah, July 17, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

“I am honored to take the helm at Dixie State University, and look forward to guiding the institution through this next phase of development and growth,” Williams said. “I am eager to get to know DSU’s talented faculty, administration, trustees, staff and students, and work closely with them to ensure we stay on the positive trajectory set by  Nadauld’s sure hand. I will do all I can to make sure that DSU remains a university where students can receive a high-quality, affordable education, and also continues to be an asset to both the St. George region and Utah as a whole.”

About Richard “Biff” Williams

Williams has served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Indiana State University since 2013.  Prior to this, he served as the founding dean of the College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services at Indiana State University.  As Dean, Williams led the development of six new degree programs designed to address the state’s critical shortage of health care workers.

Previously a faculty member at the University of Northern Iowa, he served in roles such as associate dean of the College of Education, executive associate director of the School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services, chair of the division of athletic training, and program director.  At Northern Iowa he helped create a private-public partnership between the local hospital, medical community, and university that resulted in the construction of a two-story human performance center that served the surrounding rural communities.

Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in lifestyle management from Weber State University, an Master of Science in athletic training from Indiana State University, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from New Mexico State University.

Dr. Richard "Biff" Williams, right front, greets people after being named president of Dixie State University. Rear in brown suit: Utah Rep. Don Ipson. Ceremony held at the Zion Room of the Holland Centennial Commons, DSU, St. George, Utah, July 17, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News
Dr. Richard “Biff” Williams, center, after being named president of Dixie State University. Rear in brown suit: Utah Rep. Don Ipson. DSU, St. George, Utah, July 17, 2014 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

About Dixie State University

Founded in 1911, Dixie State University is one of eight institutions within the Utah System of Higher Education. DSU achieved university status in February 2013, and has 54 bachelor, associate, and certificate programs. Serving nearly 9,000 students — drawing predominately from Utah but also including representatives from all 50 states and 18 different countries — DSU takes pride in its student-centered environment, and strives to meet the needs of traditional and nontraditional students. Located in St. George, DSU also has the Hurricane Education Center in Hurricane.

About the Utah System of Higher Education

The Utah System of Higher Education includes Utah’s eight public colleges and universities: The University of Utah, Utah State University, Weber State University, Southern Utah University, Snow College, Dixie State University, Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College. For more information, visit higheredutah.org.

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4 Comments

  • chopsticks July 18, 2014 at 2:10 am

    Whew, at least he isn’t BYU alum or a corporate LDS employee. Regents could’ve helped DSU be more diverse, but out of the top three I believe that the best choice was made.

    • Big Guy July 18, 2014 at 7:29 am

      Diversity advocates like Chopsticks judge people by their race, color, ethnicity or religion while accusing others of prejudice. Ironic, isn’t it?

      • chopsticks July 18, 2014 at 11:55 am

        Sorry to burst your bubble big guy, but I feel it most appropriate to judge based upon past experiences, ability to lead and the opportunity the new president will provide for the staff and students of DSU to think outside the Dixie bubble. Ironically you have chosen to categorize me as a simpleton that bases all my decisions on race and religion. If you were informed regarding the selection process, I was merely quoting the backgrounds of the other top two candidates for the position. One of them BYU alum and the other LDS inc employee. It would help if you knew the story at a deeper level, but I digress I am surely expecting too much from someone who bases their decisions on race and religion.

  • Dana July 18, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Who calls himself “Biff?” That’s as creepy as “Scooter” or “Mitt.”

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