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
“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.