SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The University of Utah announced its next president Thursday evening.

Taylor R. Randall will now take the reigns as the 17th president of the University.

Randall will step into the role following the departure of previous University president Ruth V. Watkins, who served as president from January 2018 to January 2021.

A 32-member search committee has spent the last seven months searching for the next candidate, following multiple public meeting and in-person interviews.

The University announced three finalists in its search for the next president on July 21, which included Randall along with Jayathi Y. Murphy, Ph.D. and Carrie L. Byington, M.D.

Randall graduated from the U of U with honors in accounting. He later went on to earn his MBA and Ph.D. in operations and information management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

He has served as the dean of the David Eccles School of Business since 2009. Before that, he was a professor of accounting for 11 years, earning a number of awards during his tenure.

“There are no better opportunities in higher education and health care in this country than what lies in front of the University of Utah. I am deeply humbled to lead and serve the U and its phenomenal faculty, staff, and students as we seek to elevate our stature as a public university and health care system,” Randall said. “As a third-generation professor, my commitment to the university runs deep. The University of Utah transformed me as an undergraduate student and gave me a crucial head start in my career and sustained me as a researcher—a scenario I hope to replicate over and over again for future graduates of and faculty at the U.”

Randall will assume his role as president of the university on Aug. 9.