University Affairs

USU Moab Announces Leadership Changes

By Marcus Jensen |

USU Moab announced that Kristian Olsen will lead the campus beginning on July 1, after the retirement of Lianna Etchberger

MOAB, Utah — Lianna Etchberger, associate vice president for Utah State University Moab, has announced her retirement effective June 30, 2023. Etchberger has been the associate vice president at USU Moab since July 1, 2017.

In addition, USU has announced that Kristian Olsen, who currently serves as the associate vice president for USU Blanding, will be promoted to senior associate vice president and will lead both USU Blanding and USU Moab, effective July 1, 2023. As part of this leadership promotion, Samantha Campbell will be promoted to associate campus director in addition to her role as director of students at USU Moab.

“I want to thank Lianna for her success in leading our USU Moab campus these past six years, including the planning and construction of the beautiful USU Moab campus building,” said USU President Noelle E. Cockett. “Her meticulous attention to every detail has resulted in a combustion-free net-zero energy building that provides academic and technical education, Extension outreach, and community engagement. I wish Lianna the very best in this next chapter of her life. Looking ahead, I cannot think of a better person than Kristian Olsen to guide USU Moab into the future. He will help USU Moab continue to fulfill its mission of being a dynamic asset to the community.”

Olsen has been the associate vice president for USU Blanding since 2019. Prior to this position, he was the director of students for six years at USU Eastern. Olsen began his undergraduate degree at the College of Eastern Utah’s San Juan Campus, which is now USU Blanding. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business from Southern Utah University and a master’s degree in higher education leadership from the University of Connecticut Stamford.

"Having worked with Kristian for several years, I am confident he will be a great leader for the next chapter of USU Moab history," said Rich Etchberger, vice provost and interim vice president for Statewide Campuses. "Kristian has been a dynamic leader at USU Blanding and will bring this same work ethic to the Moab region."

At USU Blanding, Olsen has been instrumental in expanding opportunities for Native American students. He has also worked tirelessly to secure funding to expand technical education facilities and start new programs to benefit students. Olsen’s commitment to Native American culture and heritage is also evident in his dedication to have a traditional Navajo Hogan built on campus, providing students with a space to learn about and practice traditional cultural practices. Additionally, he is working on building a new facility in Monument Valley that will provide students with even more opportunities to learn and grow.

“I am humbled by this opportunity,” Olsen said. “Lianna has done an outstanding job leading USU Moab and my goal is to work with the great faculty and staff in Moab to build upon the foundation she has laid. I look forward to working with Samantha and all those at USU Moab as we continue this work that allows us to truly impact lives.”

A native resident of Moab, Campbell joined USU Moab in 2011 and has worked in various capacities. For three years, she worked as a staff assistant, managing finances and budgets as well as purchases. In 2014, she became the director of operations and student services. In this capacity, she supervised and completed performance appraisals for USU Moab personnel and aided in the hiring and training of faculty and staff. In 2015, she was promoted to her role as director of students.

"Samantha has been a mainstay at USU Moab for more than a decade and is well deserving of this promotion," said Rich Etchberger. "Her experience in Moab as well as her leadership skills will serve the community well as she helps direct the day-to-day operations at USU Moab. I am confident students, faculty, staff and the community are in great hands. Samantha represents Moab to the core. She will continue to put Moab first and will maintain and build positive relationships to benefit the wonderful region of Grand County."

Campbell credits working with leaders like Lianna Etchberger and Steve Hawks in her development. While she admits she has big shoes to fill, she is excited about the new opportunity and to be able to serve the community of Moab at an even deeper level. Campbell looks forward to continuing to foster community partnerships and sharing the opportunities that USU has for the community of Moab.

“I was born and raised in Moab, and my love for this community runs deep,” Campbell said. “I feel incredibly privileged to have this opportunity. I have seen the impact that higher education can have on an individual and a community. It is a privilege to be able to continue to promote USU’s land grant mission in Moab, and to be part of the exciting opportunities that USU can offer in this community.”

Campbell graduated from Westminster College in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in communication. She would later graduate from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business with a master’s degree in business administration in 2016.

Lianna Etchberger joined USU as an adjunct lecturer in 1995 at the USU Uintah Basin campus, rising to the rank of tenured professor. Since joining USU Moab, Etchberger has been instrumental leader, helping the campus to new heights and successes. During her tenure, Etchberger helped facilitate the construction of USU Moab’s newly opened campus and helped navigate students, faculty and staff in the area through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Located in the outdoor recreation paradise of Moab and boasting one of the greenest buildings on any USU campus, Utah State University Moab offers students the personalized attention and small class sizes of a small-town college with the resources of a large university. With programs such as Nursing, Elementary Education, Recreation Resource Management and Social Work, technical education in Health Professions, Automotive and Business, and degree options ranging from associate to doctorate degrees, USU Moab offers programs that help fuel local economies and empower individuals and their communities. Learn more at

USU Blanding associate vice president Kristian Olsen will now lead both USU Blanding as well as USU Moab

As part of this leadership promotion, Samantha Campbell will be promoted to associate campus director in addition to her role as director of students at USU Moab.


Marcus Jensen
News Coordinator
University Marketing and Communications


Lianna Etchberger
Associate Vice President
USU Moab


Statewide Campuses 285stories New Leadership 12stories

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