President's Council

About The President's Council

The BYU–Hawaii President’s Council is charged with determining the strategic direction of the university on all levels: educational, fiscal, spiritual, and physical. Their primary focus is the success of each individual student, and the leadership development of the entire BYU–Hawaii ‘ohana. As the President’s Council works to accomplish the mission of the university, they make decisions to align resources with key priorities. While the President’s Council has specific responsibility over the university, its students, employees and resources, they are also concerned with how the decisions of BYU–Hawaii affect La'ie and the surrounding community.

President Steven C. Wheelwright
John S. Tanner
Norm Black
John D. Bell
Debbie Hippolite Wright

Steven C. Wheelwright

Dr. Steven C. Wheelwright, the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus at Harvard Business School, became the ninth president of Brigham Young University– Hawaii on June 23, 2007. Called by President Gordon B. Hinckley to preside over Brigham Young University–Hawaii, he and the university have been charged to continue to improve the quality of the education delivered and efficiently utilize the resources of the Church in order to bless the lives of as many students as possible, particularly the young men and women from Asia and the Pacific. President Wheelwright regularly reports to the Commissioner of the Church Educational System, Elder Paul V. Johnson, and the CES Board of Trustees, which includes the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He is a former senior associate dean of the Harvard Business School's MBA program, a Baker Foundation professor and senior associate dean and director of Harvard Business School's publication activities. His research and experience have given him a world-recognized expertise in solving complex managerial problems and foreseeing future business trends. He has written several books with colleagues including, "Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation", 4th ed.; "Operations, Strategy, and Technology – Pursuing the Competitive Edge"; and "Dynamic Manufacturing: Creating the Learning Organization".

Following his retirement from Harvard, he and his wife, Margaret, presided over the England London Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and then as service missionaries at BYU–Idaho. President Wheelwright grew up in Salt Lake City and is a cowboy at heart. He has owned a cattle ranch, and currently keeps horses and cattle at his Oakley, Utah, home. He and Margaret are the parents of five children and 20 grandchildren.

Send a message to President Wheelwright

John S. Tanner
President (effective July 27)

Dr. John S. Tanner will become BYU–Hawaii’s 10th president in late July 2015. Dr. Tanner has many years of distinguished Church and academic leadership experience. His prior Church service includes serving in the Sunday School general presidency (2014-2015) and as president of the Brazil São Paulo South Mission (2011-2014). Before serving as mission president, Dr. Tanner was Academic Vice President of Brigham Young University (Provo) from 2004-2011.

Throughout his career, Dr. Tanner has been noted for his great efforts to improve students’ quality of learning. As an Associate Academic Vice President and then Academic Vice President at BYU, he developed the Freshman Academy program to guide incoming students, revised the university’s general education requirements and wrote BYU’s Educational AIMS (Spiritually Strengthening, Intellectually Enlarging, Character Building, Lifelong Learning and Service). More recently, as a member of the Sunday School general presidency, he has traveled throughout the world to assist in the implementation of the new youth Sunday School curriculum, which focuses on a model of learning through questions and active participation. The new curriculum is designed to be adaptable in order to meet the learner’s needs and deepen testimony and conversion. He has been actively involved in preparing similar curriculum for adult classes.

Dr. Tanner earned his bachelor of arts degree in English from BYU in 1974 and his doctorate in English from University of California, Berkeley, in 1980. He began his teaching career at Florida State University but soon joined the BYU faculty in 1982 as an assistant professor. He also spent time as a Fulbright professor in Brazil and served as chair of the English Department at BYU.

Dr. Tanner will be taking the helm at BYU–Hawaii with his wife, Susan W. Tanner, former Young Women general president of the Church, and the encouragement of their five children. “I am inspired by the vision that prophets have had for BYU-Hawaii,” Tanner said. “I intend to build on that wonderful legacy of aloha and learning and service that exists here to bless the international Church.”


Norm Black
Vice President, Administrative Services

Norm Black received his Masters Degree from Webster University and was the Outstanding Honor Graduate in 1995. He is a retired Officer from the United States Air Force and prior to coming to BYU-Hawaii, he was a Program Manager for a large government contractor. He came to BYU-Hawaii in 2011 as the Director of Enterprise Information Systems.

Norm currently serves as Vice President of Administrative Services and has responsibility for the following areas: Finance, Information Technololgy, HR, Budget, Materials Management, Construction, Facilities Management, Internal Audit, Security, and Housing.

John D. Bell
Vice President, Academics

Dr. John D. Bell joined BYU-Hawaii in May 2015. Before coming to BYU-Hawaii, Dr. Bell served as Dean of Undergraduate Education at Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah). He earned an undergraduate degree in Zoology from BYU in 1982 and a Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of California (La Jolla, CA) in 1987. Dr. Bell returned to BYU to begin his teaching career in the Department of Zoology in 1990 and has held numerous administrative positions since.

As Vice President of Academics, Dr. Bell’s areas of responsibility include the four academic colleges, the three associate academic vice presidents and the Academic Council, the library, Alumni and Career Services, admissions, and financial aid.


Debbie Hippolite Wright
Vice President, Student Development & Services

Dr. Debbie Hippolite Wright is a Maori who hails from the south island of Aotearoa, New Zealand. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Waikato. She has practiced for many years as a social worker and marriage and family therapist in Aotearoa, Hawaii, and the U.S. Mainland. Prior to her current position, she taught at BYU–Hawaii in the Social Work department for 17 years.

Debbie currently serves as the Vice President of Student Development and Services. She has responsibility for the following areas: Counseling Services, the Health Center, Food and Retail Services, Student Leadership, Activities, and Service, Recruiting and the Office of Honor.