Ted Wilson

Ted Wilson

Ted Lewis Wilson was mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA from 1976 until July, 1985. He won three elections. Wilson resigned during his third term to become the director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah where he held an adjunct assistant professorship of Political Science.

His terms were noted by an election in May, 1980 to change the five member commission form of government to a mayor/council form. This initiative was created by a city scandal involving the take-over of the city personnel department by the chief of police.

Other highlights of Wilson's administration included re-construction of the Salt Lake City International Airport, re-building the city's sewage treatment plant, re-tooling the water system, and expanding the green space of the city's parks department. Wilson also initiated and passed the first historical and foothill preservation ordinances in the city's history. Currently, Wilson is the Executive Director of the Utah Rivers Council, a Utah based environmental organization.

Partial biography

Ted Wilson was born May 18, 1939, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He attended schools in Salt Lake City, graduating from South High School in 1957 and from the University of Utah in 1964, with a B.S. degree in Political Science. He received a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Washington in 1969. In 1983, he received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Westminster College of Salt Lake City.

From 1957-1963, he served in the Utah Army National Guard and was activated to full time status during the Berlin Crisis. He was an instructor at the Leysin American School, Leysin, Switzerland for one year. He also taught economics at Skyline High School, Salt Lake City, Utah for seven years. During the summer months of 1966 to 1969 he was a mountaineering park ranger in Grand Teton National Park.

He was appointed Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Wayne Owens (D-UT) in March 1973. In April 1975 he was appointed to direct the Department of Social Services in Salt Lake County. In November, 1975 he was elected as Mayor of Salt Lake City. He served as Mayor until July 1, 1985 when he became the Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. Retiring from the Hinckley Institute in September, 2003, Wilson retains status as Professor Emeritus of political science and continues to teach classes at the university. Wilson is a founder of the Exoro Co.

In 1988, he was the Democratic candidate for Governor of the State of Utah. In 1991, Wilson was selected by the Harvard University John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics as an institute fellow during the Autumn Semester.

Personal travel to India has allowed Wilson to study and understand the Indian system of government. Wilson has made ten trips to India leading university student expeditions. During those visits, he has met with the Dalai Lama, and led efforts to build housing for Tibetan Refugees in Bir, a community hall in Leh, Ladhk and a school in Kotwara.

Wilson loves the sport of mountaineering and has made many first ascents on mountain climbing routes in Utah, in the Tetons, and in other ranges including the Alps, Alaska, Andes, and the Himalaya. Wilson has established three climbing schools still in operation, was a climbing ranger in Grand Teton National Park, and is currently a part owner of Exum Utah mountain Guides. He received the Department of the Interior Valor award for a mountain rescue on the North Face of the Grand Teton in 1967.

Wilson is married to former "Salt Lake Tribune" columnist Holly Mullen. From his previous marriage to Kathryn Carling, Wilson has five children. He is step dad to Mullen’s two children.

Ted Wilson serves on many voluntary local boards including the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Clark Planetarium Advisory Board and the University of Utah College of Social and Behavioral Science Advisory Board. He is an Ambassador for the 96th Army Reserve and provides a liaison between the troops and the community.

He enjoys bicycling, skiing, rock climbing, and back packing with his family. A favorite hobby is watching Utah’s future.

Assignments and boards


* University of Directors of Utah Alumni Board
* American Alpine Club Board
* Vice Chair, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
* College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Advisory Board
* Executive Director, Utah Rivers Council

Former boards and activities

* Chosen as one of thirteen Mayors to officially visit the People’s Republic of China, 1979
* Board of Directors of the United States Conference of Mayors
* Board of Directors of the National League of Cities
* Board of Directors, Intermountain Health Care
* Utah State Arboretum Board
* University of Utah Task Force on Undergraduate Education
* University of Utah Medical School Advisory Board
* University of Utah Parking and Transportation Committee
* University of Utah Campus Recreation Committee
* Co-Chair Utah Committee, Bill Clinton for President 1992
* Board Member, Friends of Sundance Institute
* National Board of Trustees, National Parks and Conservation Association
* Chair, Utah Air Travel Commission
* Chair, Platform Committee, Utah Democratic Party 1990
* Co-Chair, The Utah Form (Democratic speakers luncheon)
* Friends of Utah Tibetan Resettlement Project
* Salt Lake City Public Utilities Rate Review Board
* Mountaineering guide in Grand Teton National Park.
* Chair, Salt Lake City Futures Commission

Awards and honors

* National Science Foundation Fellow, University of Washington, 1968-69
* Department of Interior, Valor Award, 1968, for Grand Teton north face rescue
* Utah Bolivian Partners, Fern Wiser Award for Distinguished Service to Bolivian Education, 1976
* Utah National Guard, Bronze Minuteman Award, 1979
* Chairman, Utah Presidential Inaugural Hosting Committee for President Carter, 1977
* Utah League of Cities and Towns Award - Outstanding Utah Elected Municipal Official, 1983
* Honorary Doctorate of Laws, Westminster College of Salt Lake City June, 1984
* Fellow, John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics, Harvard University, 1991
* Pi Sigma Alpha “Professor of the Year,” 1994; University of Utah Political Science Department
* Mortar Board National Honor Society “Top Professor Award,” 1996
* Professor Emeritus, University of Utah



* "Utah’s Wasatch Front", Utah Geographic Series, 1987
* "Utah Then and Now", Westcliffe Publishers, 2000.


* Numerous articles in "The Wasatch Runner" and the "Utah Business Review" Op-Ed articles in "Deseret News" and "Salt Lake Tribune", "The Event", “Putting Together the Leadership Puzzle.”
* Weekly political column in "The Enterprise", a Salt Lake City business newspaper 2000 to 2001
* Weekly political column in "The Deseret News", a Salt Lake City daily newspaper, Wilson and Webb 2000-2002.
* Article in Utah Forum, “Professor Productivity: An Emerging Issue in America and Utah,” June, 1994.

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