Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ R. Cantwell Named USU’s 17th President, Set to Start in August
Cantwell joins USU from the University of Arizona and brings a strong research background
By Jeff Hunter ’96
The Utah Board of Higher Education named Elizabeth “Betsy” R. Cantwell, a senior vice president at the University of Arizona, as Utah State University’s 17th president on May 19.
Cantwell plans to move into her new role beginning Aug. 1, succeeding Noelle E. Cockett, who has served as president of USU since January 2017. Cockett announced last November that she planned to step down from her position at the end of June, which led to a national search for her replacement.
“I am enormously grateful to the board for their faith in me, and I will do everything in my power to step into a place that has been basically made beautiful by President Cockett and move us all forward into what is truly an incredible future for Utah State University and for the state of Utah,” Cantwell said shortly after her appointment was announced by Utah Board of Higher Education chair Lisa-Michele Church.
Cantwell has served as senior vice president for research and innovation at the University of Arizona for the past four years. Prior to her time in Tucson, she was a vice president for research development at Arizona State University, and held leadership positions at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
A member of the board for the ISS National Laboratory and chair of the Space Telescope Science Institute Council, Cantwell is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School (MBA, 2003); the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, 1992); and the University of Chicago (BA, Human Behavior 1976).
“Elizabeth Cantwell will be an innovative new president for Utah State University building on the already strong research excellence and statewide service model,” Church said. “Our board was excited to hear her vision for the land grant university mission and the bridges which can be built with students from all backgrounds. We are also impressed with her outstanding academic and leadership credentials.”