Oct. 25, 2012 – David W. Pershing was officially inaugurated today as the 15th president of the University of Utah. Pershing, distinguished professor of chemical engineering, was selected by the State Board of Regents earlier this year to succeed Michael K. Young.
In his remarks, Pershing reaffirmed his commitment to providing the best educational opportunities available at an affordable cost. “As we look to the future of this institution, we will continue to build upon our strengths,” said Pershing. “The University of Utah has excelled because of an innovative approach to education – born out of self-reliance and optimism. Our approach focuses on collaboration, multi-disciplinary education, research, entrepreneurship and engaged learning. What we have achieved through a willingness to work together for the good of our students and community is remarkable – even unique – and is gaining national recognition.”
Pershing celebrates more than three decades of service to the University of Utah. He joined the U as an assistant professor of chemical engineering in 1977 and was named a Presidential Young Investigator by the National Science Foundation in 1984. Pershing became dean of the college of engineering in 1987. He was named senior vice president of academic affairs in 1998 and was responsible for approximately 1,000 faculty and 25,000 students in the colleges of the main campus.
A gifted teacher and prolific researcher, Pershing is the recipient of the University of Utah’s Distinguished Teaching and Distinguished Research Awards and the university’s Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence. He was named Engineering Educator of the Year by the Utah Engineering Council in 2002 and is a winner of the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology.
Pershing has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed publications, won more than 20 research grants totaling approximately $60 million and earned five patents. He was director of the University of Utah’s Center for Simulation of Accidental Fires and Explosions, funded by a $40 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Pershing holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, both in chemical engineering.