Chris Samuels, Deseret News
Students walk past the "block U" on the University of Utah's campus in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015.

SALT LAKE CITY — Heidi Woodbury, assistant dean for external relations at the University of Utah's David Eccles School of Business, has been appointed the U.'s vice president for institutional advancement.

In making the announcement, U. President Ruth Watkins said Woodbury "is widely recognized for her collaborative, positive and team-building style, her remarkable ability to build long-standing relationships with external stakeholders, and her impressive work ethic."

She will take up the position on Feb. 1, 2019, succeeding Fred Esplin, longtime vice president for institutional advancement, who is retiring.

Woodbury, whom Watkins describes as "trusted and respected by her colleagues," began her career at the U. as chief advancement officer for KUER-FM, the university's public radio station.

She joined the Eccles School in 1996, serving in various leadership roles before becoming assistant dean. As assistant dean, Woodbury was responsible for guiding all aspects of the business school's advancement efforts.

Under Woodbury's leadership, financial support from private, foundation and industry donors significantly increased; new academic centers and facilities were built to meet the needs of students, faculty and the community's business professionals; and alumni connections across the nation and world flourished, according to a university press release.

Woodbury has guided numerous changes in the Eccles School, including technology and branding enhancements that promote the school's visibility and connection statewide.

"Heidi has brought her tremendous talent to the David Eccles School of Business for the past two decades. It was her incredible ability to build relationships and garner respect from some of the most notable families in Utah and beyond that has helped transform the Eccles School to what it is today," said Taylor Randall, dean of the U.'s school of business, in a university press release.

"I am sad to see her leave us, but I know the entire University of Utah community will benefit from her great passion and drive," he said.

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Woodbury also serves on the development operations committee, which recommends development standards and practices for the university.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the University of Utah as vice president for institutional advancement," Woodbury said in a statement.

"Fred Esplin has done an amazing job in this role and, because of his attention and dedication, I have a solid foundation to build on. I am excited to work with President Watkins and the leadership team in the years ahead as we strive to continue the university's momentum."