Sunday, January 26 2014, 11:58 PM MST
Person 2 Person: Matthew Holland
Under the leadership of Matthew Holland Utah Valley University has grown to be the largest public university in the state of Utah. Throughout his career, President Holland has established himself as a respected educator and master communicator. Shauna Lake sat down Person to Person to hear his hopes for the future.
Shauna Lake: Thank you so much for doing this interview and for being with us. I'm so excited to get to know you a little bit better because I’ve been astounded at the growth of UVU. I know you're a very humble guy but what do you attribute that too? People say it's you.
Matthew Holland: It's an exciting time to be at UVU. I think there are some things that are happening there that make it a very attractive place for a lot of students.
One of the things about UVU is there is something for everybody so that is part of the draw. And we also have a real focus on this engaged learning where we're getting students out into the world whatever their discipline whatever their field is and they are doing projects and they are working with industry and they are finding these connection points between the theory and the text book and the research.
Shauna Lake: Are there challenges in developing the reputation?
Matthew Holland: All institutions have a kind of public image that has to kind of catch up to where the institution actually is for good or for bad. In our case it is for our good. We are even better than people think we are
Shauna Lake: Is that something you always wanted to do? Did you want to run a university? Did you set out to do that?
Matthew Holland: Well people always ask that because my dad was a university president so that's kind of how I grew up. And then I went into academia but I really didn't go into it with the aim of becoming an administrator. I'd worked in business. I was in management consulting I was going to get an MBA then I realized I had this sickness; I had to go pursue education. I just couldn't get it out of my system. I loved American History and Political Thought. I love teaching, I love students and so I went into it so I could teach and be with students. I spent 8 years as a professor and I loved it. This opportunity really just came out of the blue. I wasn't on some fast track and I wasn't planning on it someone said you should throw your hat in the ring and I sort of chuckled and said well I don't know much about it or the institution.
Shauna Lake: Do you miss the teacher student feeling? And being in the classroom?
Matthew Holland: Well I absolutely do and it's part of the reason why against the better judgment my wife and others I’m actually teaching this semester. I'm teaching a senior seminar in political thought because I missed the class room I do it selfishly because I love it but I think it makes me a better president to stay connected to those students.
Shauna Lake: Matt, was there a teacher in your life; a professor who changed who you were as a person and inspired you?
Matthew Holland: I have been blessed with mentors at every stage of my educational career. It started with Mrs. Bush at Upland Elementary in Salt Lake City. I had come from a situation from back east where my parents were great and had encouraged me but we were in a very poor school and I was way behind. My first grade teacher said you need to come in 20 minutes early every day and I will get you caught up. She did that for 4 or 5 months and it kind of changed things for me from 1st grade on.
Shauna Lake: And we can't just gloss over the fact that your dad was the president of a major university. I'm sure you saw, weren't you a student while he was president? Yes I was. So I’m sure you saw a lot of situations he was involved in and that had to color your decision on some level.
Matthew Holland: Yeah both for good and for bad; There was the idea of do you really want to get into a job like this because there are hard days and there are pressures; there are moments when you just can't please everybody and those are hard moments
Shauna Lake: Tell me about your family Matt.
Matthew Holland: I am married to Paige Bateman. We have 4 kids the oldest is 16 a boy and our youngest 8 is a boy and 2 girls in the middle 14 and 11. And that is one of the great blessings and challenges right now. We are in the heart of family life and the heart of career life and trying to; you have a university that kind of needs you all the time, but I have a family and I am going to raise it and make them a priority.
Shauna Lake: I would think that it would be so cool to be from Utah and then be in charge of a facility and an institution that can really better the entire state. What are your feelings on that?
Matthew Holland: You've almost just taken the words right out of my mouth. I said that in the early process. When people ask me about the job this was never about Matt Holland being the president of some big something; It was about Utah Valley University. It was about this great institution and a community I really cared about where I’ve grown up, been educated, cut my teeth professionally; where I want to raise my family and I realized if we don't get it right it could be a big, big problem. And if we do get it right it could be a huge asset and so to be a part of that is immensely gratifying.
Shauna Lake: That's a perfect note to end on. Thank you so much it's so nice to get to know you better person 2 person.
-Written and produced Angie Denison
(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)