Pres. Matthew Holland was given the ceremonial key to the university last Wednesday as another finishing touch in his transition to his role as president.
The key was passed to Holland by Elizabeth Hitch, who served as interim president in place of Pres. Bill Sederburg, who made the decision to move onto his new role as Utah’s Commissioner of Higher Education last summer. Hitch served in this capacity for nearly a year.
“The transition has been great, extremely warm. I have been to lunch with students a few times to hear about their needs. I’ve visited with members of the faculty in their offices. All of that and more leaves me excited with this place,” said Pres. Holland before the ceremony.
The program began with a brief introduction from Hitch, followed by a short video. The video quickly shuffled through the key moments from the transition of the university over the past two years. “Do we move at warp speed, or what?” said Hitch after the video showed the many steps in the university transition.
Hitch described Holland as open and collaborative, with a great intellectual capacity. “He can see the future – and wants to shape that with us,” she affirmed. After Hitch passed the key to Pres. Holland, he took a few minutes for an acceptance speech. “This may not open anything, but I’m sure my kids will try to open stuff with it anyway,” said Holland to a laughing crowd.
Holland then presented Hitch with a flower bouquet as a gesture of gratitude for her service to the school.
Holland’s tenure as president began June 1, one month earlier than originally planned. The extra time has afforded Pres. Holland an opportunity to get around campus, witnessing faculty, staff and students in their local environments.
“I want to be a president for the students. They are the reason any of us are here. I want to provide high quality education for them, and a proper kind of environment where they can succeed and prepare themselves for life. That’s right at the top of my agenda; so I look forward getting right into that,” Holland said. With the extra month of his early tenure, he has already begun his efforts to acclimate the campus by sitting in on a few classes being taught this summer.
“I can’t imagine there would have been a better choice to lead UVU over the next few years than Pres. Holland,” said Hitch.