EPHRAIM — Bradley J. Cook was selected to be the 17th president of Snow College Friday by unanimous vote of the Utah State Board of Regents.
He will succeed Gary Carlston, who is retiring after serving five years as president. Carlston will remain in the position through May 17.
The Board of Regents, which has the sole authority to hire and fire public college and university presidents, spent much of the day in executive session interviewing the four finalists before voting on their selection of Cook in a public meeting.
"I am so honored to have been selected for this position in this amazing, incredible place that gave me a start, that believed in me," Cook said during his remarks after he was selected.
Cook, provost of Southern Utah University, is an alumnus of Snow College and a native of central Utah.
"President Cook first arrived at Snow's campus as a freshman a number of years ago. Now Snow College will greatly benefit from his significant experience in higher education and strong commitment to student success," said Dave Buhler, Utah Commissioner of Higher Education, in a news release.
During his time at SUU, Cook has worked to establish the university as a national leader in student-centric, highly applied learning environments and has advanced an international agenda, according to a press release.
Under Cook's leadership, SUU has created over 25 new academic programs and centers, and elevated SUU's academic reputation as one of the premier public regional universities in the Intermountain West.
Prior to serving at SUU, Cook was president of the Abu Dhabi Women's College in the United Arab Emirates. He also spent eight years at then-Utah Valley State College as vice president of college relations and later as vice president of academic affairs. Cook has bachelor's and master's degrees from Stanford University and a doctorate from the University of Oxford.
"Dr. Cook is a nationally respected scholar and dynamic leader in higher education," said Harris Simmons, chairman of the Board of Regents, in the release. "His experience, vision, and dedication to academic excellence will ensure Snow College continues to thrive in the years ahead."
Cook was selected from among four finalists, each of whom serves in an administrative position on their respective state college and university campuses in Utah.
A 22-member search committee, which included regents, Snow College trustees, and members of the university community spent several months soliciting input on the qualities of the next president, writing a job description, advertising for candidates and conducting interviews before winnowing the field to four finalists.
On-campus meetings between each of the finalists and members of the college community were conducted Thursday in advance of Friday's selection by the Utah State Board of Regents.
Snow College was founded was in 1888 by Utah pioneers. It has campuses in Ephraim and Richfield and an online degree option. Snow's Richfield campus primarily offers applied technology programs while its residential campus in Ephraim offers a wide array of associate degree programs and a limited number of bachelor's degree programs.
Snow College serves some 5,500 students and has been recognized nationally for student success, affordability and exceptional teaching.
The search for Snow College's newest president was the fourth in the Utah System of Higher Education this past year. Earlier, new presidents were selected at the University of Utah, Utah Valley University and Weber State University.
"I will work to ensure the college remains student-centered and focused on providing a high-quality, affordable experience, in addition to emphasizing its role as an economic driver for central Utah and the state as a whole," Cook said in the release.
"I look forward to working with Snow College students, faculty, staff, board of trustees, alumni and the broader community to advance the important work of the college."
Contributing: Ashley Imaly