President’s Bio

David W. Pershing, Ph.D.


David W. Pershing proudly celebrates more than three decades of service to the University of Utah. Named Utah’s 15th President in 2012, President Pershing serves as the university’s chief executive leading a diverse team of faculty and staff at one of the world’s top research universities.

President Pershing joined the University of Utah as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering in 1977. He was named a Presidential Young Investigator by the National Science Foundation in 1984, became Dean of the College of Engineering in 1987, and named a Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering in 1995. In 1998, Dr. Pershing was named Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs responsible for approximately 1,000 faculty and 25,000 students in the colleges of the main campus. Now as President, Dr. Pershing continues his commitment to the undergraduate experience with new initiatives and programs aimed at enriching academic excellence on campus.

A gifted teacher and prolific researcher, President Pershing is the recipient of the University of Utah’s Distinguished Teaching and Distinguished Research Awards and the U’s Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence. He has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed publications, won more than 20 research grants totaling approximately $60 million, and earned five patents. He was named Engineering Educator of the Year by the Utah Engineering Council in 2002 and is a winner of the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology. He was director of the University of Utah’s Center for Simulation of Accidental Fires and Explosions, fueled by a $40 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

President Pershing holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, both in chemical engineering.