MICHAEL OKERLUND LEAVITT was born and raised in Cedar City, Utah. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business and economics from Southern Utah University. He is past president and CEO of a large regional insurance firm and served as an outside director of several major corporations. He was a member of the Utah State Board of Regents, which oversees Utah’s nine colleges and universities. At his first gubernatorial inauguration, he pledged to take Utah to a “whole new level of performance,” a vision that became a reality with a reduction in average elementary class size complemented by an increase in teacher salaries. Leavitt is a founder of Western Governors University and creator of the Enlibra environmental management philosophy. He negotiated the school trust lands swap with the federal government that secured millions of dollars for Utah school children, and he designed the “digital state” initiative to deliver high-speed Internet access statewide. During Leavitt’s tenure as governor, Utah was named the “best-managed state” in America, the “best place to locate a business,” and host of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Named 1999 “Public Official of the Year” by Governing magazine, Leavitt served on the National Governors Association’s Executive Committee. He resigned from office in November, 2003 to accept appointment as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, and has since become Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Governors of the American States, Commonwealths and Territories, National Governors Association, 2002.
Michael O. Leavitt Digital Archive, Gerald R. Sherratt Library, Southern Utah University