SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Board of Regents announced Monday that Lorris Betz will serve as interim president at the University of Utah following the departure of president Michael Young to the University of Washington.

Betz, the school's senior vice president for health sciences, dean of its medical school and CEO of University of Utah Health Care, was also interim president in 2004 when former U. President Bernie Machen left. He was due to retire this summer but will start the interim post May 16 instead.

Board of Regents Chairman David Jordan said Betz was "the clear choice."

"We know from his tremendous service over the past 12 years that Dr. Betz is perfectly suited to fill this role," Jordan said. "We're grateful that Dr. Betz has agreed to delay his previously announced retirement this summer, and will function in both roles until his replacement … is hired."

Betz said he was honored to be selected.

"For over a decade I have had the pleasure of being associated with the University of Utah and have developed a great appreciation for the quality of this institution, its faculty and staff," he said.

Regent Nolan Karras, former speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, will lead a search for Young's replacement. It is expected to be done within a year.

Also Monday, the University of Washington announced the terms of a five-year contract for Young that will make him one of the highest-paid public college presidents in the country. He will receive a $550,000 salary, plus deferred compensation and other benefits bringing his total annual compensation to $802,000.

His predecessor at UW, Mark Emmert, left last year to become president of the NCAA.

E-mail:, Twitter: pbkdn