R. William Funk & Associates Assists Weber State University in President Search

February 19, 2019 – R. William Funk & Associates, which specializes in recruitment for roles in higher education, recently assisted in the placement of Brad L. Mortensen as the 13th president of Weber State University in Ogden, UT. Charles K. Wight stepped down from the role last May. R. William Funk, president of the Dallas-based recruitment firm, led the search.

“President Mortensen brings both institutional familiarity and broad perspective to his new role as president of Weber State University,” said Harris H. Simmons, chair of the board of regents. “He is widely respected by our community partners, and is a thoughtful and effective higher education leader.”

“Throughout his career, he has been highly focused on student success and inclusiveness,” he said. “President Mortensen is passionate about Weber State University, and his experience, vision, and dedication will ensure that the institution continues to thrive.”

Search committee co-chairwoman Jesselie Anderson said more than 40 people applied for the role. Mr. Mortensen was selected after a 21-member presidential search committee, Ms. Anderson and Weber State trustee chair Nolan Karras, narrowed the pool to four finalists.

The other finalists were Katherine Frank, provost and vice president for academic and student life at Central Washington University; Frank Lamas, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management at California State University Fresno; and Melody Rose, president of Marylhurst University.

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“I believe president Mortensen is the right president for Weber State, and his significant experience and strong commitment to students will be of great benefit to the university and the Utah System of Higher Education,” said David L. Buhler, commissioner of higher education. “I look forward to working closely with him.”

Mr. Mortensen joined Weber State in 2004 and has served as vice president of university advancement for 11 years. His work involved developing partnerships and philanthropic resources that promote educational access, student success, inclusiveness and faculty and staff vitality. He also led communication and strategic efforts to strengthen alumni and community connections, and recently began guiding Weber State’s efforts to support regional economic development. Active with several Northern Utah organizations, Mr. Mortensen has chaired the Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Northern Utah. His prior professional endeavors include the Utah System of Higher Education, Utah governor’s office, Arizona legislature and two policy fellowships.

Related: Academic Sector Pumping Big Fees Into Search Firms

“As a Wildcat for the past 14 years, I know firsthand that Weber State has strong ties to our community and is committed to the success of our students,” said Mr. Mortensen. “That’s been our hallmark for 130 years. I look forward to continuing my work with faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, community and especially students. Our Weber State family remains dedicated to providing educational access and opportunity for all.”

Recruitment for Higher Education Leaders Heats Up and Shifts
Executive search for higher education and academia is undergoing a tremendous transformation. Technology is having a big impact. Diversity is also making its impact felt. Even certain roles are not the same as they were just a short time ago. Talk about a sector in transition!

Weber State is an open admission institution, serving over 27,000 students from some of the most ethnically and economically diverse cities in Utah. The university cultivates personalized teaching, mentoring and engaged learning throughout its 225 undergraduate certificate and degree programs and 15 graduate degrees. 

Higher Education Specialists

R. William Funk & Associates has conducted more than 400 searches for university and college presidents and chancellors over the last 35 years. It recently placed Steven Leath as the 19th president of Auburn University.

Among the nearly 70 current presidents or chancellors that Mr. Funk has helped recruit, many are at some of the nation’s most respected universities. Here’s a sampling: Michael V. Drake, president of Ohio State University; Max Nikias, president of the University of Southern California; Carol Folt, chancellor of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Teresa Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia; Bernadette Gray-Little, chancellor of the University of Kansas; Robert Barchi, president of Rutgers University; Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University; James Clements, president of Clemson University; and G.P. Peterson, president of Georgia Tech.

Related: Why Universities Have Stepped Up Efforts to Involve Search Firms

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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