Old Main at Utah State University.

LOGAN – With the pending retirement of Executive Vice President and Provost Frank Galey, Utah State University President Noelle Cockett has turned to her existing executive team to reconfigure roles of executive vice president (EVP) and provost.

When Dr. Galey retires July 1, Laurens H. (Larry) Smith will become the new provost and Robert W. Wagner takes over as executive vice president.

Cockett said Wagner will focus on operations while Smith as provost will deal solely with academics. University vice presidents will continue to report to President Cockett with the deans still reporting to the provost.

Smith became interim vice president for statewide campuses in May of 2019, then assumed that position permanently in August, 2020, with responsibility for more than 30 campuses, centers and academic facilities.

Wagner, who came to USU in 2007, has led the school’s Academic and Instructional Services (AIS) since it was formed in 2015, while serving in the Provost’s Office and as Vice President. When the COVID-19 pandemic began his AIS teams played a critical role in quickly moving classes and university operations online.

“I’m confident that the combination of Dr. Smith and Dr. Wagner in these new roles will allow USU to continue to expand as a top-tier public university and in our important role as a land-grant institution,” President Cockett said.

President Cockett praised Dr. Galey’s contributions as EVP and provost in the four years since he joined USU’s executive team from the University of Wyoming. She said he played a key leadership role in USU’s successful navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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