The State Board of Regents selected Mike King on Monday to be interim president of the College of Eastern Utah.

Last month President Ryan Thomas announced that he was stepping down after seven years at CEU's helm, citing personal reasons for leaving the school, an institution he steered out of a financial crisis.

A formal search for the new president will begin once a study, requested by the Legislature, regarding the potential for greater collaboration and cooperation between CEU and Utah State University, is complete.

"Dr. King will ensure that CEU continues to be a key component in the economic and workforce development in this region of the state," said board Chairman Jed Pitcher. "The college plays an important role in meeting the higher education needs of eastern Utah, and Dr. King is a strong and capable leader."

King has been serving as provost and vice president for academic affairs at CEU since July 2004. Prior to that, he was the dean of arts and sciences from 2000 to 2004 and CEU's biology department chairman from 1997 to 2000. He first came to the school in 1996 as a biology instructor and continues to teach ecology and environmental science courses.

"I envision continuing that effort and helping CEU develop greater name recognition throughout the state. We often feel like we're the best-kept secret in Utah when it comes to higher education," King said in accepting the appointment.

"I'm grateful for this opportunity given to me by the regents. I appreciate their confidence and look forward to working closely with them, the commissioner's office and community leaders to meet the higher education needs in southeastern Utah."

King currently serves on the Utah Concurrent Enrollment Task Force, the Higher Education Advisory Committee for the Utah Education Network and the Utah E-learning Connection Advisory Committee.