Richard “Biff” Williams began his tenure as the 18th president of Utah Tech University in August 2014 and has overseen incredible growth University-wide ever since. President Williams has facilitated the addition of more than 100 academic programs, including the institution’s first graduate degrees, a 50 percent increase in student enrollment, and the expansion of campus’s physical footprint.
Under President Williams’ leadership, Utah Tech enhanced student resources and experiences, nearly doubling the amount of scholarship funds, instituting the “active learning. active life.” approach to education, increasing campus diversity, and transitioning Utah Tech Athletics to Division-I. Thanks to his leadership, the number of awarded degrees has risen 50 percent, millions of dollars have been invested in employee salary increases, and the institution has been consistently included on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings.
President Williams oversaw the rebrand of the university’s athletic identity to the Trailblazers in 2016 and the institutional name change to Utah Tech University in 2022. The Utah Tech name represents the University’s statewide impact and focus on offering students hands-on learning opportunities that prepare them to graduate career-ready in line with the University’s polytechnic approach to education. As part of this mission, President Williams has worked closely with technology and industry leaders to form mutually beneficial partnerships that inform curriculum and prepare graduates to meet industry demands.
Further fostering community relations, President Williams has developed partnership programs with other universities, community members, and companies in addition to establishing Atwood Innovation Plaza that serves as the entrepreneurial and technology hub for Southern Utah.
To accommodate the University’s growth, President Williams has overseen construction projects such as the Science, Engineering & Technology building, two Campus View Suites facilities, the first new on-campus student housing in 50 years; the addition of the 5,000-seat eastside grandstand and expanded press box to Greater Zion Stadium; and the state-of-the-art Human Performance Center. Additionally, construction on building three Campus of View Suites and a general classroom building is set to begin soon.
President Williams is currently overseeing Utah Tech’s latest five-year strategic plan, Trailblazing Distinction, which is guiding the University’s growth from 2020 to 2025 as it becomes an open, inclusive, comprehensive, polytechnic university.
In recognition of his accomplishments and leadership, President Williams has received numerous awards and honors. Recently, he was named among the “10 Most Inspiring CEOs of 2022” by Industry Era,“Most Inspiring Thought Leaders Transforming Education, 2022” by Insights Success and included on the Marquis Who’s Who list.
Previously, he has served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and founding dean of the College of Nursing, Health and Human Services at Indiana State University. Prior to Indiana State, Dr. Williams served as an associate dean of the College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa, where he was a faculty member, executive associate director of the School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services, and Athletic Training department chair.
President Williams holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Lifestyle Management from Weber State University, a Master’s degree in Athletic Training from Indiana State, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from New Mexico State University. President Williams and his wife, Kristin, have five children.