December 8, 2003 — In a meeting of the University of Utah Board of Trustees Monday, State Board of Regents Chair Nolan E. Karras announced that Dr. Lorris Betz has been appointed as Interim President of the University of Utah, effective January 1, 2004. Dr. Betz, currently the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, Dean of the School of Medicine, and CEO of the University of Utah Health System, will serve as Interim President until a new President is appointed later in 2004. “Dr. Betz is a capable administrator, and we are confident that with his leadership the University will continue to function very effectively while we continue the search for a new President,” stated Chair Karras. “We are grateful that he is willing to accept the assignment to serve in the important role of Interim President.”
University of Utah Board of Trustees Chair James Macfarlane welcomed Dr. Betz’s appointment. “Bernie put together a strong team, and Dr. Betz is an important part of that team. His appointment promises the kind of continuity that will serve the University well.”
Dr. Betz was appointed Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, Dean of the School of Medicine, and CEO of the University of Utah Health System in 1999. He also holds faculty appointments in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy. Previously he has served as the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and on the faculty of the University of Michigan in the Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology, and served a residency and research fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Physiology from the University of Wisconsin in 1975. He also has a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin.
“In the four years I’ve had the pleasure to be part of the University of Utah, I have developed a great appreciation for the quality of this institution and the dedication and professionalism of faculty members and staff. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as Interim President until such time that a successor to President Machen can take office,” stated Dr. Betz.
Dr. Betz announced that during this interim Dr. David J. Bjorkman will serve as the Interim Dean of the School of Medicine. Dr. Bjorkman, an M.D. with a Master of Science in Public Health, is currently Senior Associate Dean of the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Commissioner Richard E. Kendell also welcomed Dr. Betz’s appointment and promised to proceed quickly with the search for a new president. He noted that “the Search is moving along very well. Under the leadership of Search Committee Chair Regent Jim Jardine, the Search Committee has received important information and input from the University community and the community at large.” Added Regent Jardine, “We are receiving a number of very promising nominations and applications. I am confident that we will be able to forward some very well qualified candidates to the full Board of Regents for their consideration sometime in the next several months.”