Cecil O. Samuelson Retires; Kevin Worthen Becomes New BYU President

On May 1, 2014, Kevin J. Worthen, BYU’s current advancement vice president and former dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School, will become BYU’s thirteenth president. He replaces Cecil O. Samuelson, outgoing president.

During his time as BYU’s president, Samuelson oversaw a number of changes to BYU’s programs and its landscape. He led the efforts to construct the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center, the BYU Broadcasting Building, and the New Life Sciences Building scheduled to open fall 2014. He was also instrumental in planning and carrying out the Heritage Halls construction project and the campus unification plan.

In 2009 Samuelson assisted in dissolving the College of Health and Human Performance and transitioning the academic programs of that college into the Marriott School of Management, the College of Life Sciences, the College of Fine Arts and Communications, and the McKay School of Education.

The October 2012 LDS General Conference brought additional challenges for President Samuelson with the announcement that 18-year-old young men and 19-year-old young women could enter the mission field. Wyview Park, formerly student housing, was made an extension of the Missionary Training Center to accommodate the increase in the number of missionaries. Recently Samuelson has been working with campus administrative offices, colleges, and departments to facilitate the changes in enrollment caused by the lower missionary application age.

Prior to serving as BYU’s president, Samuelson was a professor of medicine at the University of Utah. He also served as dean of the School of Medicine and vice president of Health Sciences. He later worked as senior vice president for Intermountain Health Care. He was called as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1994 and in October 2011 was released and granted emeritus status as a General Authority.

Vice President Worthen was selected after a search committee appointed by the board of trustees reviewed a number of candidates, including both males and females from both inside and outside BYU. Some of these candidates were from academia, and some were from industries outside education.

“I am both honored and humbled, as you might imagine, at this opportunity to serve at the university,” Worthen commented in a press conference after his appointment was announced. “I don’t consider myself measuring up to those who preceded me in this, but I take comfort in the fact that this decision was made by those [in whom] I have great confidence.”

Worthen grew up in Carbon County, Utah. He worked as a coal miner while completing his associate’s degree from the College of Eastern Utah. He then earned his bachelor’s and juris doctor degrees from BYU. He worked as a clerk for Justice Byron R. White of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Malcom R. Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit Court. He has been serving as BYU’s advancement vice president since 2008.

Worthen is married to Peggy Sealey Worthen. They have three children and one grandchild.

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