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Posted 30 Apr 2001   For week ended April 27, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 23Apr01

By Rosemary Pollock

LDS Educator is New President of CEU

PRICE, UTAH -- Ryan L. Thomas is looking forward to the opportunity to return home to Price, Utah where he will become President of the College of Eastern Utah on July 1. "My roots run deep," Thomas said of the small town where his father was born and raised. "We hope our family will establish even deeper connections here."

Thomas will leave Utah Valley State College where he has been serving as Administrative Vice-President and acting Dean of Computer Science and Engineering Technology since 1999. Thomas will replace Grace Jones, who announced more than a year ago that she would step down on July 1. Jones was the first black and the first female president of a public college in Utah.

Jones declined to say if she was being considered for another appointment. "Obviously, I have to be somewhere by July 1," Jones said. "That is really all that is appropriate for me to say. I plan to do what I have committed to do here, and that is to spend the time between now and then being a good president at CEU."

"This leaves an incredible hole in our administration," UVSC President Kerry Romesburg said. "Probably one of the hardest positions to fill. But he is absolutely ready to assume a presidency and will do a fantastic job."

Thamas was selected by unanimous vote after an extensive national search that included 62 candidates. CEU has about 3,000 students from southeastern Utah. It also has five off campus sites in Blanding, Castle Dale, Green River, Moab and Mounment Valley.

Thomas is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and his wife, Ann have five children. The search committee said they were influenced by Thomas' attachment and commitment to the community.

"This was the place of my childhood dreams, where I grew up hearing stories about rugged, strong miners," Thomas said of his hometown. "As I drove through an unknown, but remembered gate, I recognized that this would be for me an opportunity to return to some important beginnings for my family."

Thomas' father worked as a miner, welder and cabinetmaker before earning a doctorate in English literature from Columbia University in New York and joining the family at Brigham Young University. Thomas also spent 10 years as an administrator at BYU, where he received both his law degree and doctorate in higher education administration.

"What we do as educators is get people from where they are to where they want to be," said Thomas. "The image of my father will set the tenor of my work at CEU," he added.

In addition to Thomas, Mormons head several colleges and universities outside of the LDS Church's educational system. Outside of Utah they include E. Gordon Gee, currently chancellor of Vanderbilt University and V. Lane Rawlins, president of Washington State University.


Native Son Named to Head CEU
Salt Lake Tribune 21Apr01 P2
By Kirsten Stewart: Salt Lake Tribune

New CEU president is native of Carbon
Deseret News 21Apr01 P2
By James Thalman: Deseret News staff writer

UVSC VP leaving for College of Eastern Utah
Provo UT Daily Herald pgA8 21Apr01 P2
By Havalah Ghouldston: The Daily Herald


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