Dr. Elizabeth J. Hitch served as Vice President of Academic Affairs when she was asked to serve as interim president in 2008 - 2009 following the presidency of William A. Sederburg. During her term as Interim President, Dr. Hitch navigated UVU through one of its most fiscally trying years by courageously deciding to absorb extreme budget cuts with minimal consequences to the institution. She returned to serve as Vice President for the following year before accepting her current position as Associate Commissioner of Academic Affairs at the Utah System of Higher Education.
Liz has devoted considerable time to the pursuit of excellence in education. Before coming to Utah she served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Professor at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, and was Interim Chancellor for ten months. She served as Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies at Eastern Illinois University; was a tenured faculty member and administrator at Central Michigan University; and an instructional designer at the University of Michigan. She has a doctoral degree in educational psychology from the University of Michigan and baccalaureate and master’s degrees in family ecology from Michigan State University.
Dr. William A. Sederburg joined Utah Valley as the 5th president of Utah Valley State College on June 1, 2003. During his five year tenure, he added 129 new faculty positions, 26 new baccalaureate degrees and the institution's first master degree (Master of Education). He revamped the campus master plan and led several campus expansion initiatives, including the purchase of the Education Building, nearby orchards, the Murdock Property, and the Wasatch Campus in Heber City, Utah. Additionally, he oversaw the creation of the Woodbury School of Business, Noorda Regional Children's Theater, and the Clyde Institute of Construction Management. He increased the institutional budget by 65.4%. He established the Planning, Budgeting, and Accountability process which has received international recognition by the Society of College and University Planning.
He enjoyed meeting with and talking to students and worked to give Utah Valley students better services both academically and administratively. Under his direction, the first student recruitment campaign was launched. He also oversaw the creation of the UVU One Stop and improved the student-to-advisor ratio from 700 to 1 to approximately 400 to 1.
President Sederburg was also very engaged with the community. He established the Community Relations Council and served on the boards of United Way of Utah County and as chair of the Provo-Orem Chamber of Commerce. He created the Center for Engaged Learning designed to provide faculty and students research and project opportunities that impact the community. Despite these many accomplishments, his greatest was achieving university status resulting in a mission and name change from Utah Valley State College to Utah Valley University. Included in the mission change was $10 million in new funding from the legislature. A new 190,000 square foot library was dedicated on July 1, 2008, the day UVSC officially became Utah Valley University. The library was hailed by Governor Jon M. Huntsman as the "greenest" public building in the State of Utah. For a more complete list of accomplishments please see his list of accomplishments.
Lucille Stoddard worked for more than 30 years at Utah Valley. She served in a variety of capacities including, the chair of the business department, dean of the business school, academic vice president, and interim president. She served her first term as interim president in 1987-1988 following the presidency of J. Marvin Higbee. Stoddard later served as interim president a second time in 2002-2003, before becoming the associate commissioner of the Utah System of Higher Education. Her husband, Frank Ferguson, is an architect, who along with Bruce Jensen and others was responsible for the original Orem campus design.
Kerry Romesburg served as the 4th president of Utah Valley State College from 1988-2002. During his 14 year presidency, the college changed its mission from a two-year community college to a four-year state college, student enrollment skyrocketed from 8,700 to more than 20,000, and the college's endowment increased from $280,000 to more than $41 million. Kerry is currently the president of Jacksonville University in Florida. He and his wife Judy have two grown sons.
J. Marvin Higbee, formerly the president of Snow College, became Utah Valley's third president. President Higbee expanded the college curriculum during his tenure and oversaw the difficult transition from an institute (Utah Technical Institute) to a community college (Utah Valley Community College) in 1987. Also in 1987, an Associate of Arts degree was formalized through his efforts. He saw the need in the community for a college that would not only meet the needs of the trades but would also expand into the liberal arts and more technical fields.
Wilson Sorensen served as acting director and as president of Central Utah Vocational School (CUVS), Utah Trade Technical Institute (UTTI), and Utah Technical College (UTC). He was instrumental in moving the school from the Fairgrounds campus to the Provo campus and then to the Orem campus. His main interest was in providing classes to train individuals for the job market, especially in technical areas. It was his determination and tireless efforts that brought about the miracle in Utah Valley that is now Utah Valley University. Lucille Stoddard, interim president in 1987-1988 and 2002-2003, later said of him, "if there was one word to describe Wilson, it would be visionary." He was at Utah Valley from the beginning in 1941 and stayed until he retired in 1982 for a total of 41 years of exemplary service.
Hyrum Johnson, a native of Utah Valley, taught industrial arts classes in Spanish Fork and Pleasant Grove before becoming the first "director" of the institution. He was a highly respected craftsman and teacher. His enthusiasm and dedication to vocational education and his "never-say-die" attitude were instrumental in getting the Central Utah Vocational School started. However, the pressures and problems that occurred during the war production training years were a great burden to Hyrum and this caused his health to deteriorate. He went on paid leave in 1944. In his place, Lorenzo E. Peterson served for a short while as the Acting Director but he, too, left the school, leaving Wilson Sorenson, the treasurer and purchasing agent, to take over in his place.