Skip to content

V5I1: Welcome New Presidents


President, Mindy Benson, Southern Utah University

Mindy Benson has been appointed president of Southern Utah University. The Utah Board of Higher Education selected Mindy Benson as the 17th president of Southern Utah University following an extensive national search.

Before assuming the role of interim president last year, Benson served as vice president of Alumni and Community Relations at SUU for eight years. Along with her leadership responsibilities, Benson has taught courses on campus for 14 years. Benson earned her bachelor’s degree in zoology and her master’s in communication from Southern Utah University.


President, Stephanie Bulger, Lane Community College

At its March 16 meeting, the Lane Community College Board of Education approved Dr. Stephanie Bulger as Lane’s eighth president by unanimous vote, following a nine-month national search. Bulger is currently Vice Chancellor for Instructional Services at the San Diego Community College District in San Diego, CA, a position she has held since 2015. She has more than two decades experience in higher education, having held campus and district leadership positions including campus associate dean, dean of distance learning, campus chief academic officer, and vice chancellor. Prior to becoming Vice Chancellor for Instructional Services at the San Diego Community College District, she served as Vice Chancellor for Educational Affairs and Distance Learning at Wayne County Community College District in Detroit, MI. Bulger has a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI (2003); a Master of Arts in 19th and 20th Century British and American Literature from The University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT (1985); and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT (1983).


President, Brad Hall, Blackfeet Community College

Blackfeet Community College is pleased to announce that Dr. Brad Hall has been selected as the new President and will begin his tenure October 1, 2022.

Dr. Hall comes to BCC from the University of Montana, where he has served as UM’s first Tribal Outreach Specialist. Dr. Hall has been instrumental in working with all of Montana’s tribal colleges to recruit and retain Indigenous students.

Dr. Hall has served BCC in the past as the Institutional Researcher and Accreditation Liaison Officer. In these roles, he worked across campus to ensure the college’s academic integrity and persistence. Dr. Hall is currently the Blackfeet Institutional Review Board Chairperson and serves on several advisory boards across the state.


Interim President, Bradley Lane, Seattle Central College

Dr. Bradley Lane has been selected to become the interim president at the college starting Monday, August 1.

Lane is replacing Dr. Yoshiko Harden, who recently accepted the position of president at Renton Technical College, after six years of service at Seattle Central College.

Lane has held a variety of faculty and administrative appointments at the Seattle Colleges, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, and Vanderbilt University. Most recently, he served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Santa Monica College in California. At Seattle Central, Lane previously served as Executive Vice President of Instruction, Finance and Planning; Vice President of Instruction; Executive Dean for Academic Affairs; and Dean of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, in addition to teaching classes in English, Humanities, and Gender and Women Studies.

Lane holds a master’s degree in Teaching, Learning, and Diversity from Peabody College at Vanderbilt and a Ph.D. in Communication and Culture and Gender Studies from Indiana University.


Interim President, Stacee McIff, Snow College

The Utah Board of Higher Education named Stacee McIff as interim president of Snow College, to take effect on July 1, 2022. McIff has served as vice president for technical education and workforce development at the college since 2021 and will lead Snow College during the Utah Board of Higher Education’s search for its next president.

McIff has worked at Snow College for more than 15 years and served as interim in her current role before being appointed vice president for technical education and workforce development in 2021. She also served as Snow College Business Department chair from 2012-2020 and has held a faculty role at the college since 2006. McIff has been heavily involved in the community and has served on the Southern Utah University Alumni Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors of the New Horizons Crisis Center, as national board chair of FBLA-PBL, as president of the Sevier County Republican Women and more.

McIff holds a Master of Science in Business Information Systems from Utah State University and a bachelor’s degree in business education from Southern Utah University.


President, Jayathi Y. Murthy, Oregon State University

Dr. Jayathi Y. Murthy, a national leader in higher education engineering teaching, research and service, and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, has been appointed Oregon State University’s next president.

Murthy, who has served as the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science since January 2016 and previously worked at several other top engineering universities and in the private sector, will become OSU’s 16th president on September 9, 2022. She grew up and received her undergraduate degree in India. She received her master’s and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Washington State University and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, respectively.


President, Jesse Peters, Western Oregon University

Western Oregon University appoints Dr. Jesse Peters as its next president. Peters is the current Dean of Arts & Sciences at Ft. Lewis College (“FLC”) in Durango, Colorado, which also included service as FLC’s interim provost. Prior to FLC, Peters served in many capacities at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, including the Dean of the Esther G. Maynor Honors College, Director of Undergraduate Research, Faculty Senate President, and Professor of English. Peters received his Ph.D. and M.A. in Native American Literature from the University of New Mexico, his B.A. from Emory University, and his A.A. from Oxford College of Emory University.


Interim President, Patrick Phillips, University of Oregon

The Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon appointed Dr. Patrick Phillips as interim president of the University of Oregon, beginning August 20.

Phillips, who currently serves as the provost and senior vice president, will take over for President Michael H. Schill, who is leaving the UO to become president at Northwestern University.

Phillips has served in several leadership roles, including head of the Department of Biology, associate vice president for research, special adviser to the president, and inaugural executive director of the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact.

He received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Reed College, a master’s of science in evolutionary biology from the University of Chicago, and his PhD from the University of Chicago.


President, Nick Swayne, North Idaho College

The North Idaho College Board of Trustees selected Dr. Nick Swayne to serve as the college’s 11th President.

Swayne comes to North Idaho College after serving as the Executive Director of 4-Virginia, a collaborative partnership between eight universities in the state of Virginia. He is also the founder of a comprehensive academic innovation ecosystem at James Madison University.

Swayne earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho, a master’s in public administration from Northeastern University and a doctorate in postsecondary strategic leadership from James Madison University.


President, Janelle Vanasse, Alaska Pacific University

Alaska Pacific University (APU) is appointing Dr. Janelle Vanasse as its next President, effective June 1, 2022. She has twenty-nine years of education experience in Alaska, most recently serving as superintendent at Mt. Edgecumbe High School since 2016. She previously held a range of education roles in the Bethel area, as director of secondary education for the Lower Kuskokwim School District and as founding director of Yuut Elitnaurviat – the People’s Learning Center. Vanasse earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Gonzaga University, a superintendent endorsement from UAS, a master’s in educational leadership from the UAA, and a bachelor’s in special education at St. Cloud State University.


President, Chris Villa, Skagit Valley College

Dr. Chris Villa, who most recently served as president at Portland Community College (PCC) – Rock Creek, has been named the next president at Skagit Valley College. Villa served an accumulated 12 years as vice president of student services for Los Angeles Mission College, Fresno City College, and Long Beach City College. He earned his bachelor’s degree in social ecology from University of California, Irvine, a master’s degree in public administration from University of Southern California, and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy from University of Utah. Villa has also served as an adjunct faculty in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Department at California State University, Northridge. Villa will resume his role in August 2022.


President, Justin Villmer, Dawson Community College

Justin Michael Villmer is currently the President at Dawson Community College (DCC). Villmer recently moved from Colby, Kansas where he was the Vice President of Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer at Colby Community College (CCC). Villmer holds an Associate degree from Hutchinson Community College, he attended Emporia State University (ESU), where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business, and continued his education to earn his Master of Accountancy from ESU. Villmer continues to add to his resume with trainings and certifications, as well as participating in numerous valuable committees. Villmer and his wife, Jessica, of 11 years, have six children that range in age from 2 years to 10 years. Villmer enjoys fishing, camping, backpacking, road trips, playing basketball, and attending concerts with his wife and children. His family loves to attend community events when possible.


President, Randy Weber, Rogue Community College

Rogue Community College (RCC) Board of Education has appointed Dr. Randy Weber as the 7th president of RCC, effective July 1, 2022.

Weber is a dynamic and innovative leader who is extraordinarily qualified to lead the college in the 21st century. Weber comes to RCC from his most recent leadership position as the Executive Vice President/Chief Student Success and Strategy Officer at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. He brings to RCC 14 years of experience serving three different community colleges in cabinet-level leadership roles.

Weber’s experience as a first-generation community college graduate himself will bring a special quality to his leadership; knowing what it is like to succeed beyond what have been family traditions, life circumstances or expectations. He also has demonstrated his commitment to ensure similar opportunities are created through educational opportunities for thousands of students who have similar dreams.


Sign up for our Newsletter

Explore the latest issue of NWCCU’s quarterly newsletter, The Beacon, and discover educational resources, innovations, and events happening in the Northwest.