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Eric Denna Named New Chief Information Officer

May 20, 2011-The University of Utah (the U) has announced that Eric Denna has been hired as chief information officer (CIO). Denna is a leader in computing and information technology (IT) with extensive experience in higher education and business.

Denna will serve as CIO for both the university and the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE), effective May 23. He will replace Steve Hess, who is retiring after a teaching and administrative career at the U that spans a period of more than 35 years.

“I am delighted to be back in academia. I’ve admired Steve for a long time, and he’ll be a hard act to follow,” said Denna. “I am eager to meet and get to know people across campus. For the first few weeks, I’ll be learning a lot about campus, priorities and processes. I look forward to collaborating with the deans and administrators and my hope is that I can make a valuable contribution to the community.”

Hess is retiring to serve an LDS mission in Michigan, but says IT management at the U is in good hands. “Eric has a unique combination of extensive high-level experience in computing administration, having served as a CIO in three large organizations, with the academic credentials of a published tenured faculty member,” said Hess. “He is a good fit for leading computing on campus and the system of higher education at this time.”

Denna was the CIO for the Times Mirror Higher Education Group in Chicago, Illinois (acquired by McGraw-Hill 1996) from 1995 to 1997. He was CIO for Brigham Young University from 1997 to 2001 and was the managing director, CIO, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 2000 to 2008. He has also served as adviser for several other universities and more than a dozen private corporations.

In announcing the hiring of Denna, Interim U President Lorris Betz remarked, “The University of Utah has landed one of the most experienced and knowledgeable IT managers in the country. He honed his skills in both the corporate and higher education arenas, which will serve him well in this multi-faceted position.”

Besides managing the University Information Technology (UIT) office at the U and its $45 million budget, Denna will also be responsible for overseeing the Utah Education Network (UEN) with a budget of $38 million and IT management for the Utah System of Higher Education with an annual budget of $5.2 million.

As CIO for the U, Denna will have responsibility for IT strategic planning, policy, standards, architecture and overall responsibility for the campus-wide IT governance process. He will supervise networking, unified communications, administrative computing, classroom technology services, the university webmaster, Web design, video production, duplication, streaming, research computing and services provided by the Center for High Performance Computing. Denna will also share responsibility for central campus data centers and IT infrastructure services, IT compliance, and operational security with the University Hospitals and Clinics.

The director of UEN will report to Denna. UEN provides educational programming and portals in conjunction with a consortium of public education partners, including USHE and its 10 universities and colleges; the Utah State Office of Education, local school districts, the Utah Electronic High School and the state’s library system.