Over the last nine years, the Hollands have led Utah Valley University to extraordinary heights. We are grateful for their wholehearted and visionary service in improving higher education here in Utah, and send them our best wishes as they dedicate the next few years of their lives to serving the LDS Church.

—Utah Governor Gary Herbert told The Salt Lake Tribune


Matt has been a transformative president at Utah Valley University...

—David L. Buhler, Utah Commissioner of Higher Education


Matt Holland’s vision for engaged learning and student success has propelled UVU into the national and international spotlight. His ability to work with people in a cooperative and synergistic way has garnered immense community support and trust. As a board of trustees, we wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to President Holland for his leadership that has helped all of us see and work for UVU’s true potential. We will remain committed to the upward trajectory President Holland has envisioned and established.

—Elaine Dalton, chair, UVU Board of Trustees


We have been fortunate to have Matt Holland serving as president of UVU for nearly nine years. It has been a remarkable period of growth and development. Matt and Paige’s service has been exceptional. We will miss them greatly but wish them well in their future endeavors. They will always be part of the UVU community.

—Dan W. Campbell, chair, Utah State Board of Regents


Soon after President Holland’s arrival at UVU in 2009, he shared with his leadership team a very long list of strategic goals and objectives for the university. By recognizing the value of focusing the university’s energy and resources toward a few high-priority initiatives each year— and then relentlessly leading the charge toward achieving these aims—most, if not all, of that initial long list of goals have been achieved. And each of these accomplishments has been focused around the core of UVU’s mission—student success.

The tens of thousands of UVU students and graduates during his administration were direct beneficiaries of President Holland’s leadership.  Future UVU students and graduates and the communities in which they live and work will continue to benefit from President Holland’s steadfast commitment to an environment of learning that is serious, engaged, and inclusive.

–Linda Makin, UVU Vice President for Planning, Budget, and Human Resources


We view the increased support for tenure-track faculty very positively. This announcement was a great disappointment because President Holland is a fantastic leader for UVU, and he will be sorely missed by the faculty.

—UVU Faculty Senate President Craig Thulin, a biochemistry professor, told the Deseret News


I'm definitely sad to see President Holland go. He came in just as we became a university and he's helped it flourish and grow...

—Student body president Rob Smith, a senior majoring in political science, told the Deseret News


I was really impressed with Dr. Holland's commitment to doing what's best for the state—even over his own career interests—in outlining Utah Valley's instructional direction.

—Autumn Arnett, editor, Education Dive


Accomplishments during the Holland Administration

Academic Strength and Innovation

  • Brought national and international attention to UVU’s dual-mission model of providing services of both an outstanding teaching university and a comprehensive community college.
  • Innovated “structured enrollment” as a way to remain an inclusive, open-admissions institution even as students were held to higher standards in order to pursue upper-division work and bachelor’s degrees.
  • In direct response to industry need, presided over the development of 26 new bachelor’s degrees and six of the institution’s eight current master’s degrees.
  • Established three academic centers: 1) Center for Constitutional Studies, 2) Center for National Security Studies, and 3) The Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism.
  • Implemented the Freshman Reading Program, Presidential Lecture Series, Freshman Convocation, and Presidential Internships.
  • Allocated resources to expand the number of full-time faculty from 476 to over 670, resulting in over 55 percent of instruction, now being delivered by full-time faculty.
  • Named the national Executive of the Year in 2016 by Education Dive, for his innovation and strategic leadership in higher education.


Resource Expansion and Planning

  • Nearly doubled the footprint of the campus with the acquisition of 225 acres on the old Geneva Steel site in Vineyard.
  • More than doubled the size of the school’s endowment, and raised more cash donations and pledges than was previously raised in the history of the school.
  • Worked with the Utah Legislature to secure an additional $21million of new, ongoing funding to put UVU on a more equitable level with the other institutions in the Utah System of Higher Education.
  • Creatively repurposed space across campus to find fiscally responsible ways to serve a rapidly growing and expanding campus.
  • Developed a long-range (40-year) university master plan – fully integrating enrollment growth projections with plans for academic programming and development of land and physical facilities.
  • Secured public and private funding for 12 major buildings, structures or refurbishments, totaling over one million square feet of space (Science Building, Classroom Building, Student Life and Wellness Building, NUVI Basketball Center, Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation Wee Care Center, Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, Facilities Building, Business Resource Center, Cole Nellesen Building housing the Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism, Becky Lockhart Arena, a major pedestrian bridge connecting east and west campuses over I-15, and the campus’s first parking structure).
  • Secured $10 million from Ira Fulton for the school’s first endowed chair, support for the Roots of Knowledge windows, and several other programs, leading to the naming of the Ira A. Fulton library.
  • Oversaw the expansion of student enrollments from 28,765 to 37,282. Correspondingly, UVU experienced an increased number of graduates—from 3,441 in 2008/2009 to 4,993 in 2016/2017—an increase of 45 percent.
  • Established a strong partnership with K-16 leaders across the region to institute the annual Counselor’s Conference and to improve college math preparation of high school graduates in the region.
  • Maintained affordability for the students by eliminating off-campus and distance education fees, cutting course fees, and reducing general student fees two years in a row.
  • Presided over a major revision of UVU policies to make them more effective and increase accountability and responsiveness.


A Commitment to Inclusion

  • Demonstrated ability and priority to support an inclusive environment for all students through the creation of an ecumenical Reflection Center, a Veteran Success Center, a Women’s Success Center, LGBT Student Services Office, and an award-winning campus Inclusion Plan.
  • Launched the Women in Education initiative and three multicultural initiatives: Native American, People of the Pacific (POP) and African American.
  • Increased enrollment of students of color by 110 percent and faculty of color by 112 percent.


Other Highlights

  • Commissioned and oversaw the development of the nationally and internationally recognized Roots of Knowledge stained glass windows – a stunning, 200-foot-wide panorama of the world’s most important advances in human knowledge and understanding.
  • Established a comprehensive Business Engagement Strategy and Five-Pillars of Engaged Learning to make UVU a model of responsiveness to workforce demands and community development.
  • Helped UVU complete its transition to Division I athletics, securing entry into the Western Athletic Conference where the institution has won multiple conference championships stretching across many sports.
  • Oversaw the addition of a Division I men’s soccer team – the only NCAA-sanctioned men’s team in the state.
  • Envisioned a bold new campus front and general revamping of the university brand.
  • Organized and oversaw an immensely successful, year-long 75th Anniversary celebration for the University.
  • Supported the incubation and massive prototype development of the Statue of Responsibility.
  • In the midst of all this and more, he made a weekly run to the food court and treated a surprised student to lunch.