Cedar City, Utah — It is with sadness that Southern Utah University shares the news that Dr. Terry Alger, former SUU provost and professor, passed away on the evening of July 5 at the age of 78.
“SUU has lost a friend and leader, and he will be missed,” said Vice President for Alumni and Community Relations Mindy Benson. “Terry played a critical role as Provost during a pivotal time of growth. He remained active on campus throughout his retirement, serving as a board member and past president of the SUU Emeriti organization. Our thoughts go out to his family.”
Alger committed his entire life to higher education spending more than 30 years in the classroom and serving 18 years as the Provost for SUU. He played a vital role in helping the college earn university status and established the first graduate program offerings.
His educational philosophy was to teach and mentor always. According to Alger, “Everything we do as a university should have the goal of facilitating teaching. All else is peripheral. Other programs and activities provide feeling and enjoyment to students. Undergraduate scholarship is one of the best aspects of teaching, along with applied research and service. Students give professors life and vision — they keep you going.”
When Alger was given the mandate to increase enrollment, he immediately recognized the need to effectively manage growth. By regulating academic programs as they developed, the college could provide a broader academic experience for both faculty and students, while attaining a more cost-effective institution which was able to flourish and grow.
Alger had an unfailing dedication to providing quality academic experiences for both students and faculty. One of his greatest strengths was his ability to build consensus across campus. He formalized the academic administrative structure which clarified roles and opened lines of communication between faculty and administrators. This flow of ideas and atmosphere of cooperation were characteristic during an era of growth and expansion at SUU.
During his tenure, Alger had a clear understanding of what was needed to increase the institution’s stature and recognized that by building upon the founding ideals and strengthening existing programs the college would achieve long term success and stability.
Born in Carbon County, Utah, Alger graduated from Carbon High School and attended West Point where he played football and lacrosse. He went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Utah and completed post-doctorate work at the University of Illinois. He taught chemistry at Utah State University and at the University of Utah. He also served the Utah System of Higher Education for nine years as the Associate Director and Acting Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs. In 1981, President Orville Carnahan recruited Alger to be SUU’s new Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Terry and his late wife Kay Alger have two children, Mitch and Paula, who have both worked at SUU, and three grandchildren. He was currently married to Janet Nakken Alger.
Dr. Terry Alger made a deep and lasting impact on the institution and will be missed.
About Southern Utah University
Established in 1897, Southern Utah University evolved from a teacher training institution to Utah’s designated masters university, offering more than 140 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. With world-class, project-based learning, unique undergraduate research opportunities, and a personalized learning environment (18:1), students lead projects mentored by professors. True to the University’s core vision, SUU faculty, staff and administrators enable students to honor thought in all its finest forms, achieve excellence in their chosen field, and create positive change in the world.