July 5, 2022

President Ryan Thomas resigns

Dr. Ryan L. Thomas, President of College of Eastern Utah, announced on March 24 that he will be stepping down as president after serving seven years at the helm of Eastern Utah’s Community College.
In an e-mail sent to the college on March 24, Ryan wrote, “For the past seven years Ann and I have been honored to be a part of the College of Eastern Utah.  We are proud to be part of a community of professionals committed to education and service.   However, the time is right for our family to pursue other opportunities.

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Dr. Ryan L. Thomas, President of College of Eastern Utah, announced on March 24 that he will be stepping down as president after serving seven years at the helm of Eastern Utah’s Community College.
In an e-mail sent to the college on March 24, Ryan wrote, “For the past seven years Ann and I have been honored to be a part of the College of Eastern Utah.  We are proud to be part of a community of professionals committed to education and service.   However, the time is right for our family to pursue other opportunities.
 “When I came to CEU, I promised the Regents that I would stay at the college for seven years.   Having fulfilled that commitment, we are looking forward to new opportunities that are closer to  family. Consequently, I will be leaving the college some time after graduation this Spring.  I have conferred with our Trustees and Regents about the transition and they will be appointing an interim president sometime in April.
“My wife and   I have taken the opportunity to reflect over the many wonderful things that have occurred in our lives during  our time here.   We have come to appreciate the many strengths and challenges that our communities face in providing higher education to a widely dispersed population  in our quarter of the state.   We have also come to appreciate so many of you for your tireless determination to serve students.   We will miss you.”
President Thomas came to College of Eastern Utah from Utah Valley State College where he served as the Vice President of Student Services, Business Services, Computer Services and acting Dean of Engineering.   Prior to his time at UVSC, he was in student services at Brigham Young University and as General Counsel for Ricks College in Rexburg Idaho.
Dr. Thomas’ tenure began at a time of financial crisis for the College.   Upon his arrival in 2001 the College’s long term deficit had grown to $1.9 million and state-wide revenue shortfalls required a one percent cut to ongoing budgets.   To address the problem the college was forced to eliminate thirteen positions and make other programmatic cuts to close the structural budget deficit.   The College reported that the deficit was erased in Fiscal Year 2006 and that the college actually closed Fiscal Year 2007 with a surplus exceeding $200,000.  
While Dr. Thomas lists this restoration of solid funding as his most important achievement, the College benefitted greatly from his time at CEU, including the following accomplishments:
Completion of the G.J. Reeves classroom and administration building.   This is the most significant construction project since the original campus was built in 1939.  
The most successful fundraising period in the College’s history, including two significant land donations: the Horse Canyon Mine property and property near the fairgrounds planned as the future site of the Prehistoric Museum.
Receipt of $2.7 million in federal funds for the Western Energy Training Center (WETC) and $1.1 million for acquisition of the property and buildings which now houses WETC.
The successful merger of the Southeast Applied Technology College with College of Eastern Utah
Made significant strides in overcoming identified accreditation weaknesses in planning and assessment.
Improvement of communications with the San Juan Campus in Blanding and expansion of the College’s relationships with the communities of southeast Utah.  
A focus on student needs as reflected in the fact that the College of Eastern Utah is still the most affordable college in the Utah system of Higher Education.
In an announcement made to the campus community, President Thomas stated:   “For the past seven years Ann and I have been honored to be a part of the College of Eastern Utah.  We are proud to be part of a community of professionals committed to education and service.   However, the time is right for our family to pursue other opportunities.”
“President Thomas has made tremendous contributions to CEU as well as to the Utah System of Higher Education,” said State Board of Regents Chairman Jed H. Pitcher. “We are grateful for his dedication, sacrifice and committed service to the students, the college and this state. He will be missed.”
Interim Commissioner David L. Buhler said, “It has been a pleasure working with President Thomas over the past several years. He always puts the students first. He is optimistic and instills this vision in those he encounters.”
The Utah Board of Regents will announce an interim president by the end of the academic year.

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