CEDAR CITY — Donna Law, who is currently the associate vice president of community and government relations at Southern Utah University, has been appointed by Gov. Spencer Cox to serve as the interim executive director of the Utah Department of Cultural & Community Engagement.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox views flag design submissions at the Utah Department of Cultural & Community Engagement, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 2002 | Photo courtesy of Utah Office of Lt. Governor, St. George News

Law is scheduled to begin her position with the state on Jan. 3. Her appointment will come before the Utah State Senate for legislative approval later that month. If confirmed, Law will replace Jill Remington Love, who served for seven years as the Department of Cultural & Community Engagement’s executive director.

“We are thrilled by this prestigious appointment by Gov. Cox,” SUU President Mindy Benson said in a news release. “Donna has been a tremendous asset to SUU for more than 26 years, and has been invaluable representing our university at the Utah State Legislature for the last 11 years. Her extraordinary dedication and passion for furthering the arts and elevating communities everywhere will bless our entire state.”

“Donna brings a wealth of experience in the arts, administration, government relations and communications – a full package of skills that will serve the state’s cultural and community engagement needs well,” Gov. Cox said in the release. “I look forward to working with Donna as we support the rich past, present and future of our great state.”

In a telephone interview with Cedar City News on Thursday, Law said, “One of the things that I most love about the Department of Cultural & Community Engagement is the breadth of scope and reach that the eight different divisions have across the state.”

According to its website, the department includes the Division of Arts & Museums, the Utah State Library Division, the UServeUtah volunteerism initiative, the Division of Multicultural Affairs, Division of Indian Affairs, Utah Historical Society, Utah STEM Action Center, the State Historic Preservation Office and the Utah Professional Athletic Commission.

Donna Law, who has been appointed by Gov. Spencer Cox to serve as the interim director for the Utah Department of Cultural & Community Engagement, starting Jan. 3, 2024 | Image courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News / Cedar City News

“We have an opportunity to reach into, build and edify communities in a way that most other state agencies don’t get to have,” Law added. “I think that this department can be a real catalyst for collaboration, cooperation, and connectivity … all the things that build communities.”

When asked if her new job will require her to move away from Cedar City, Law replied, “Cedar City is my home. I will be spending a lot of time working in Salt Lake City, but I also anticipate that I will have the opportunity to work in other parts of the state as well, to be able to see and experience how our different divisions, programs and projects impact Utahns across the state.”

While at SUU, Law also served as executive director of development and government relations, as a development director, and as director of communications and marketing for the Utah Shakespeare Festival. She left SUU for a time to work as managing director of the Orlando Shakespeare Company and director of development of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. In addition to her position responsibilities, Law taught as an adjunct professor in the Arts Administration program teaching Marketing the Arts, and in the Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MIS) program teaching Non-Profit Management.

Of her work at SUU, Law is most proud of helping to bring about the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts. Her legislative efforts also contributed to many other buildings across campus including the business building, Svoboda Geosciences Building, Sorenson Legacy Foundation Center for Hope, and Bristlecone Hall, as well as a new music building and the expansion of the business building, both of which are in the design process.

Law has served on several boards and committees including on the Utah Transportation Commission, as board member on the RAP Tax Arts Committee, as chair and board member of the Office of Museum Services, as board member of Iron County Republican Women, as chair of the Iron County Tourism Advisory Board, and as vice president of the Shakespeare Theatre Association.

As a breast cancer survivor, Law works with Power in Pink, a local non-profit that serves breast cancer patients and their families. She also serves on the SUMA Advisory Board, the Sorenson Legacy Foundation Center for Hope Advisory Board, and the Learning and Development committee. Law’s service to the SUU campus has earned many awards and recognition including SUMA’s 2023 Friend of the Arts Award, the Thunderbird Award in 2017 for Advisor of the Year, and the 2023 Board of Trustees Award of Excellence.

File photo of Utah State Capitol, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 20, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Law told Cedar City News that she has already tendered her resignation from the various boards on which she’s been serving.

“It was important to give up all of my board positions in order to be able to focus on the task at hand, but also to eliminate any conflict of interest,” she said.

Law called being able to further the mission of the Department of Cultural & Community Engagement a “dream come true.”

“With the opportunity to lead this department, I will do everything I can to elevate Utah’s culture, history, heritage, and art in all its forms, colors, and sounds across our great state,” said Law. “I love SUU and the many friends and colleagues I have had the opportunity to work with over the years. I believe in our mission of changing lives and all I have learned has prepared me for this new opportunity.”

Law has a master’s degree in arts administration from Southern Utah University, a bachelor’s degree in business management from Western Governors University, and a public relations certificate from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

Written by Becki Bronson, SUU Public Relations Director, with additional reporting by Cedar City News reporter Jeff Richards.

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