Paul Edwards is leaving his role as deputy chief of staff to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to join Brigham Young University as director of the Wheatley Institution, the Provo-based private school announced Tuesday.
Edwards is expected to begin his new role in August, according to a BYU news release, replacing current inaugural Wheatley director Richard Williams, who plans to return to full-time teaching and research after leading the research- and scholarship-focused institution for 12 years.
“We believe that Paul will successfully lead the Wheatley Institution into its next period of growth and distinction,” BYU Associate Academic Vice President for Faculty Relations Brad Neiger said in a prepared statement. “Paul’s broad experience, which combines academic preparation and leadership with intellectual centers, the legal profession, the government sector and the news industry, is quite extraordinary. He is bright, insightful and energetic, as well as being an effective communicator and statesman.”
Before joining the governor’s staff in 2016, Edwards was the editor and publisher of the Deseret News and previously held roles in academia, serving in the administrations of Southern Virginia University and George Mason University and teaching political science at BYU.
BYU and the Deseret News are owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In a prepared statement, Herbert described Edwards as an invaluable member of the administration. Utah has benefited from Edwards’ “tremendous” work, Herbert said, like his policy and coordinating role in Operation Rio Grande and by staffing the governor’s Suicide Prevention Task Force.
“He has been a workhorse on a number of additional policy and communications initiatives,” Herbert said. “I am grateful for his service, will miss him, and wish him and his lovely wife well in this new venture.”