J. Bernard Machen, 72MS, 72PedoS, 74PhD, is president of the University of Utah and one of the most important leaders in public higher education today.
Renowned for his ability to build good relations, inter- disciplinary programs, and bridges between institutions and people, Machen is a talented administrator and an accomplished academician. When he took over at Utah in 1998, the university ranked last in a group of similar institutions in terms of state dollars per student for educational purposes, yet was recognized for its excellence in research. Machen intends to elevate the institution's standing further and to gain public recognition for the quality of the student body and the university's teaching program. He certainly has the experience and ability to do so. Before his appointment to Utah in 1998, he had a distinguished record of service at the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina.
At the University of Michigan, Machen served as provost under three presidents and as dean of the School of Dentistry. He is credited with providing strong academic leadership, perceptiveness, and fortitude at a difficult transition time in the life of the institution. He was admired for his informal "let's work together style" and earned the respect of both faculty and staff during his time as de facto president, when he was described as the glue that held the institution together. Shared responsibility, collaboration, collegiality, mutual respect, and excellence were the hallmarks of his administration.
Machen moved the university forward with a number of bold initiatives, including the implementation of a new budget model and faculty grievance policy, the enhancement of Michigan's stature as a top research university, and the strengthening of efforts in teaching and improving undergraduate education. Another of his priorities at Michigan was to promote intellectual and social diversity. During his tenure as provost, the university raised a record-breaking $1.4 billion in a capital campaign.
Although one of Michigan's smaller schools, the School of Dentistry experienced a dramatic transformation during Machen's tenure, a shift from nonresident to a primarily resident faculty, a greater emphasis on research, and improved clinical care. When the School of Dentistry was ranked third in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, many said that it was due in large measure to Machen's leadership.
Machen is known for his devotion to excellence and the determination to accept nothing less than the best from everyone, but especially from himself. He earned a master's degree in pediatric dentistry and a doctorate in educational psychology at the University of Iowa. He has been president of the American Association of Dental Schools and has authored a number of dentistry textbooks and journal articles.
Colleagues note his outstanding leadership and distinguished service, along with his collegiality and friendship. On a personal level, they appreciate him as a loyal friend, a good father and husband, someone who laughs easily, makes others feel good in his presence, and shares accomplishments.