UW News

April 25, 2011

Regents offer UW presidency to University of Utahs Michael K. Young

The University of Washington Board of Regents on Monday, April 25, authorized board chair Herb Simon to offer the presidency of the University of Washington to Michael K. Young, president of the University of Utah, and to negotiate an employment agreement with him. The agreement is subject to approval by the Board.

Michael K. Young

Michael K. Young

Young, 61, has been president of the University of Utah since 2004. Prior to his appointment at Utah, he was dean and Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at The George Washington University Law School (1998 to 2004).

“Michael Young is a prominent scholar, experienced public servant and diplomat, and exceptional academic leader,” said Simon. “He comes to us with a remarkable range of experience in law, government and higher education. And he has excelled at everything he has done.  We are thrilled to bring him to the University of Washington to lead this great institution into the future.

“I want to express my gratitude to Law School Dean Kellye Testy and members of the search committee for their outstanding work in presenting President Young to the Board of Regents.  They did great work.”

Under Youngs leadership, the University of Utahs annual budget has grown from $1.6 billion to $2.6 billion. It has begun or completed nearly 2 million square feet of capital construction, totaling $1.1 billion. The number of spinoff companies from the universitys research has totaled 102 over the past five years, leading the nation. Private giving has climbed from $130 million to $165 million annually, and the number of donors has more than doubled. Utah is in the final stages of completing a $1.2 billion campaign.

Before assuming the deanship at The George Washington University Law School, Young was the Fuyo Professor of Japanese Law and Legal Institutions and director of the Center for Japanese Legal Studies, the Center for Korean Legal Studies, and the Project on Religion, Human Rights and Religious Freedom at Columbia University from 1978 to 1998.

He is widely recognized not only for his academic work on Japanese law and international trade, but also for his tireless advocacy on behalf of international human rights. Young served as a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from 1998 to 2005 and chaired the commission on two occasions.

Prior to joining Columbia, he served as a law clerk to the late Chief (then Associate) Justice William H. Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme Court.

During the administration of President George H.W. Bush, Young served as ambassador for trade and environmental affairs (1992 to 1993), deputy undersecretary for economic and agricultural affairs (1991 to 1993) and deputy legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State (1989 to 1991).

He has published extensively on a broad range of topics, including the Japanese legal system, dispute resolution, mergers and acquisitions, labor relations, the legal profession, comparative law, industrial policy, international trade law, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), international environmental law and international human rights and freedom of religion.

Young is a graduate of Brigham Young University (B.A., 1973) and Harvard Law School (J.D., 1976), where he served as a note editor of the Harvard Law Review.

The University of Utah is the largest institution of the Utah System of Higher Education. Founded in 1850, it was the first public higher education institution in Utah, now with more than 30,500 students, 3,124 faculty, and almost 21,000 staff, and a campus comprising almost 1,500 acres in the eastern foothills of Salt Lake City. It is a major academic and research institution with an extensive health sciences center. It offers majors in over 100 subjects at the undergraduate level and more than 90 major fields of study at the graduate level including law and medicine.