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Ann Millner to step down as Weber State University president

Published March 10, 2012 4:30 pm

Education • Utah's first female university president opened a satellite campus in Layton.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

After 10 years leading Weber State University, Utah's first female university president is stepping down.

Ann Millner announced her intentions to faculty and staff Friday afternoon and told the state Board of Regents she will remain as president until a new one takes over.

"In this final chapter of my presidency, I will continue to serve with the same energy and dedication as always, while facilitating a smooth transition to a new leader for this university. After that, I plan to stay involved at Weber State University and with higher education in the state," Millner, a 30-year Weber administrator, wrote in a letter to colleagues.

The announcement came as no surprise since Millner, who is 60, made it known that her tenure would last eight to 10 years, and her 10th anniversary will be in October. According to UtahsRight.com, Millner's base salary was $268,911.

"I have a deep commitment to this institution," she said. "It is always hard to make that decision, but I feel that 10 years is the right time."

Prior to becoming president in 2002, she worked for two decades as an administrator in university advancement, community partnerships and continuing education. Nolan Karras, who was chairman of the Regents at the time of Millner's appointment, said she was hired "because of her experience at the institution, as well as her ability to lead faculty, students and staff. She has more than proven that she is also a key leader in northern Utah."

Her résumé of civic engagement is a lengthy one: chairwoman of the Utah Campus Compact; and board member for Intermountain Health Care, the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce, the Weber Economic Development Corporation and Coalition for Utah's Future.

Millner was Weber State's chief fundraiser, fresh off a $75 million capital campaign, when the Regents tapped her to succeed Paul Thompson, becoming the first woman chosen as a permanent Utah university president.

"It's been an incredible experience, but it's time for someone else to lead this institution forward," Millner wrote to colleagues.

She holds a doctorate in educational administration from Brigham Young University and has a background in health sciences. Millner hopes to teach but has not developed firm plans.

During her tenure, Weber enrollment grew by nearly 40 percent and expanded its professional programs, including one in engineering. In 2008, Weber won the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement.

"We have a really strong foundation to build on for the future. I'm proud of the fact that we are serving 25,000 students at three campuses — Ogden, Davis and online," she said. "We have enhanced what we do through student engagement, capstone experiences and undergraduate research. Most of all I'm proud of the way our faculty and staff are focused on the mission of this university."

During Millner's term, Weber has fulfilled the disparate roles of a regional university, which combine two-year community college instruction with the four-year baccalaureate experience, according to Weber trustees chairman Alan Hall.

"Weber is the national model for how to do this and do it well. They look to us as the one who has figured it out," Hall said.

Working with state lawmakers and private donors, Millner spearheaded key infrastructure projects. Weber opened its first Davis campus building in Layton early in her watch, and a second major building is under way.

The main Ogden campus has renovated several facilities, including Lampros Hall, Shepherd Union, Stewart Library and the Swenson Building. The campus also built Elizabeth Hall, the Hurst Center and the first two buildings of the Wildcat Village residential complex.

The Regents will conduct a national search for Millner's successor.

"You are looking for someone who has a vision for where they want to take the institution. It's a look ahead. Ann brought that to a whole new crescendo. It's the next president who will figure out where the university is going for the next 10 to 15 years," Hall said.

bmaffly@sltrib.com

What's next

P Utah's State Board of Regents, which just concluded a search for the new University of Utah president, will now launch a national search for the top spot at Weber State University in Ogden. Ann Millner, who has led WSU for 10 years, announced Friday she is retiring.