Richard L. White

The Board of Regents on Thursday announced Richard L. White, of Richfield, as the new president for Utah's College of Applied Technology.

White becomes the third UCAT president, succeeding Robert O. Brems, who resigned Sept. 19. White has been serving as the executive vice president for the Richfield campus of Snow College and before that, he was vice president for academic and student affairs at Snow College.

White's parents were first-generation collegegoers who never obtained bachelor's degrees. Their situation "convinced me that I want to devote my life to providing educational opportunities to as many people as I can," White said.

"In my view, UCAT is all about opportunity," he said, adding that most Utahns won't choose to go to a college or university for a degree. "There will be people who want to be secretaries, building contractors and welders, and they know that they can make an important contribution to society by doing that, and UCAT is there to help them succeed."

White, 59, plans to keep the college, whose nine campuses served more than 58,000 students statewide last year, running as is, with no major changes in the near future.

"UCAT is a $55 million investment by the state of Utah, in high school students, in post-secondary students, in adult learners, in the current employees of business and industry, and that investment is to help these individuals prepare to succeed in the next step in their life," White said.

He was selected by a search committee made up of various regents, trustees, other college of applied technology presidents and staff. They began looking for a new president upon Brems' resignation and considered final candidates from other college presidential searches. They determined White was "a good fit," said Rich Kendell, commissioner of higher education.

"If you look at his degrees and credentials, you'll see that he fits squarely in the camp of those who refer to career and technical education as home," Kendell said. "He will make a major contribution to higher education in this state."

White has spent 21 years at Snow, 16 of them living and working in Ephraim and five running the Richfield campus. He and his wife, Rolayne, have four children and 14 grandchildren.

Snow President Scott Wyatt said Thursday that White's appointment means good things for the college.

"We see it as a very positive thing to have one of our vice presidents named as the UCAT president," he said. "Dr. White is a great administrator and will do a tremendous job." Wyatt said White has been instrumental in helping to build career and technical education programs on both of Snow's campuses.

White has a bachelor's degree in history and political science from Utah State University, where he also served as student body president in 1972, a master's degree in education from Harvard University and a doctorate in higher education administration from Pennsylvania State University.

He has taught courses in business, organizational behavior, educational administration and communications. In addition to leaving Snow College, White leaves a position on the Richfield City Council, and the board of directors of the Richfield Area Chamber of Commerce. Snow will soon begin a search to fill the position White is leaving.

He and his wife will move to Salt Lake City, and he will assume the position permanently after the first of the year.