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Michael K. Young Named President University of Washington

April 25, 2011-The University of Washington today announced that Michael K. Young, the 14th president of the University of Utah who has led the university since 2004, has accepted the position as president of the University of Washington. A transition plan for the interim leadership of the University of Utah will be announced shortly.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this great university,” said Young after the announcement. “The University is on a remarkable trajectory and I am certain that it will continue to grow in service, stature and accomplishments. I acknowledge with the utmost humility and respect the support I received throughout my administration from the U’s extraordinary leadership team and faculty, as well as the unstinting commitment of our alumni and friends.”

Prior to joining the university seven years ago, Young was dean and Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at the George Washington University Law School (1998 to 2004). According to Randy L. Dryer, chair of the University of Utah Board of Trustees, “The University of Utah has truly flourished under President Young’s leadership. His vision and courage are reflected in the remarkable accomplishments of the past seven years.”

Citing specific accomplishments of President Young’s tenure, Dryer noted:

  • The U’s annual budget has grown from $1.6B to $2.6B;
  • The number of spin-off companies from U research has grown dramatically (19 new tech companies in FY 2010 and 102 over the past five years). The U now leads the nation and just topped MIT;
  • Income to the U from tech ventures has grown from $6.4M to $10.2M, and the economic contribution to the state (salaries and taxes) is tens of millions annually;
  • Private giving to the U has increased from $130M annually to over $165M;
  • The number of donors to the U has more than doubled (more than 47,000 new donors);
  • The U’s current capital campaign has raised over $1B to date toward a goal of $1.2B;
  • The U has begun or completed $1.1B in construction of new buildings (1.9M GSF);
  • The U has joined the national stage as the newest member of the PAC-12 athletic conference.

As a result of these accomplishments and a remarkable faculty, the U’s quality is now achieving both national and international recognition. Specifically, the U is among the top 25 public U.S. research universities (Center for Measuring University Performance); #34 in the world among research universities (University of Groningen Ranking of Top 100 Comprehensive Research Universities); #50 in the U.S. and #82 in the world (Academic Ranking of World Universities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University); #51 in the U.S., and #83 in the world (London Times Higher Education World Ranking of Universities); U of U Health Care ranked #1 in quality among academic medical centers and among “the finest health care systems in the U.S.” for the 17th year (U.S. News & World Report).

In joining the University of Washington, President Young will be building on an impressive academic and diplomatic career. Young was the Fuyo Professor of Japanese Law and Legal Institutions and director of the Center for Japanese Legal Studies, the Center for Korean Legal Studies, and the Project on Religion, Human Rights and Religious Freedom at Columbia University from 1978 to 1998.

He is widely recognized not only for his academic work on Japanese law and international trade, but also for his tireless advocacy on behalf of international human rights. Young served as a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from 1998 to 2005 and chaired the commission on two occasions.

During the administration of President George H.W. Bush, Young served as ambassador for trade and environmental affairs (1992 to 1993), deputy undersecretary for economic and agricultural affairs (1991 to 1993) and deputy legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State (1989 to 1991).

Young is a graduate of Brigham Young University (B.A., 1973) and Harvard Law School (J.D., 1976), where he served as a note editor of the Harvard Law Review.

The University of Utah is the largest institution of the Utah System of Higher Education. Founded in 1850, it was the first public higher education institution in Utah, now with more than 28,000 students, 2,750 faculty, and 11,500 staff, and a campus comprising almost 1,500 acres in the eastern foothills of Salt Lake City. It is a major academic and research institution with an extensive health sciences center. It offers majors in 72 subjects at the undergraduate level and more than 90 major fields of study at the graduate level, including law and medicine.