New UVU leadership hopes to strengthen bond between BYU and UVU

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Collaboration between BYU and UVU is expected to continue as UVU welcomes a new senior vice president.

Dr. Jeffery E. Olson will join UVU's faculty as senior vice president of academic affairs in July. (Photo courtesy UVU)
Jeffery E. Olson will join UVU in July as senior vice president of academic affairs. (UVU photo)

Jeffery E. Olson was announced as the new senior vice president of academic affairs at UVU on May 5. Olson, a Utah native who most recently worked at St. John’s University in New York, said he is excited to be a part of UVU and contribute to the growing community and the strong relationship UVU has with BYU. “UVU is a remarkable place,” Olson said. “And I really look forward to the opportunity to contribute to its continued development.”

Relations between BYU and UVU have flourished under President Matthew Holland’s five-year tenure at the university.

“We meet with the BYU cabinet once a year,” Holland said. “We have a good working relationship with them, and we coordinate nicely on issues where we have commonality.” Holland said it is important to coordinate on issues in the areas that affect the populations of both universities.

Utah Valley’s two universities collaborate on a variety of projects every year to enhance each campus and the surrounding community. Holland said the specific projects BYU and UVU work on together vary from year to year. Currently, the two universities are working on public transportation for students, student housing and community service projects. On May 7, women from BYU and UVU teamed up with Habitat for Humanity during National Women Build Week.

But Olson’s first priority when his tenure begins on July 1 will be growing and strengthening UVU. According to Olson, UVU is hoping to grow to accommodate up to 40,000 students in the coming years.

As UVU experiences this growth, Holland said BYU and UVU will have even more to work on together.

Page Holland (center) stands with other Habitat for Humanity volunteers. (Photo by Elliott Miller)
Page Holland (center) stands with other Habitat for Humanity volunteers. (Photo by Elliott Miller)

“As our academic mission develops … there may be more opportunities to collaborate between disciplines,” Holland said. He also expects the two schools to do more with athletic competition together as UVU moves into the WAC. The two universities join often on community service projects, but Holland said he hopes the two schools can do even more in the future to benefit the community they both share.

Holland is hopeful for Olson’s contribution to the UVU community. “I think Dr. Olson brings to the table exactly what UVU needs right now,” Holland said. “I couldn’t be more excited to have him as a partner moving forward.”

Holland is no stranger to BYU, and his past experience at the university continues to influence his work as president of UVU. As a child, Holland lived on the BYU campus when his father, Elder Jeffery R. Holland, served as president. Later he returned to BYU for eight years as a professor of political science.

Although he said he draws from these experiences, he also recognizes that UVU’s needs are different from BYU’s. Holland said part of the good relationship BYU and UVU share includes a “healthy respect for the fact that they have two very different missions.”

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