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 for 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 John S. Tanner John D. Bell Debbie Hippolite Wright Steven W. Tueller Eric W. Conrad Laura Tevaga

president's council

President John S. Tanner

John S. Tanner is the 10th president of Brigham Young University–Hawaii. He assumed the presidency in July 2015 after a thirty-year career as a professor and administrator at Brigham Young University in Provo. At BYU, President Tanner served as Academic Vice President, Associate Academic Vice President, English Department Chair, and Professor of English, with an emphasis in English Renaissance and Religious Literature.

Prior to his appointment as BYU­–Hawaii president, President Tanner had been serving in the Sunday School general presidency (2014-2015) and as president of the Brazil São Paulo South Mission (2011-2014) for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

President 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.

President Tanner is the author of several books, including an award-winning study of Milton and Kierkegaard, and numerous articles and essays. He has also written a number of hymn texts, including one that appears in the Church’s hymnal.


President Tanner is married to Susan W. Tanner, former Young Women general president of the Church (2002-2008).  They have five children and twenty grandchildren.


John D. Bell

Vice President, Academics

Dr. John D. Bell joined BYU–Hawaii in May 2015. Before coming to BYU–Hawaii, John 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. John 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, John’s areas of responsibility include the four academic colleges, three associate academic vice presidents and the Academic Council, Admissions, Alumni and Career Services, Financial Aid, Admissions, and the Library.


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 in 1999. She received her Masters of Social Work from Brigham Young University in 1984 and earned her undergraduate degree in Social Work from Brigham Young University-Hawaii in 1979. 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 & Disability Services, Health Services, Recruiting and International Student Services, Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, Office of Residential Life, Office of Honor, Office of the Dean of Students, Title IX Office and Student Leadership, Activities, and Service.

Debbie Hippolite Wright


Steven W. Tueller

Vice President, Administration

Steve Tueller has worked within the Church Education System for nearly 30 years and began his career at BYU in Provo in the Physical Facilities Division. He has extensive experience in budgeting, strategic planning, space management, sales and marketing, and has held various positions at BYU-Provo and the CES Commissioner’s Office. Steve came to BYU–Hawaii in June of 2006 and has served as the Managing Director of Budget and Human Resources. He served as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Osaka Japan. Steve earned his bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Development, a master’s degree in International and Area Studies, and an MBA, all from BYU-Provo. He and his wife, Laurie, are the parents of seven children and three grandchildren.


Eric W. Conrad

Vice President, Operations

Mr. Conrad has a diversified background in facilities, construction and operations management, having held executive management positions at two Fortune 500 companies and as a senior manager at two of the nation’s largest private universities. Mr. Conrad’s last employer before church employment was with CBRE where he was Managing Director overseeing Facilities Management at 3,100 banks in 41 states. Mr. Conrad has managed operating budgets as large as $840 million and real estate portfolios valued over $4 Billion. The Real Estate portfolios he has managed have scaled from coast to coast and border to border in the United States. He has overseen organizations as large as 2,700 employees that have included union and non-union employees. Mr. Conrad has spoken at, consulted for and taught executive facilities and operations management classes at a number of companies, including: Microsoft, Ford, Nortel, Regions Bank, WaMu, Avaya, Grubb and Ellis, Bank of America, Compass, AT&T, Sodexo, TD Financial, IFMA and a number of other institutions throughout North America. Mr. Conrad graduated from BYU’s College of Engineering with a B.S. in Facilities Management and a M.S. in Management from WGU. Currently Mr. Conrad is the Vice President of Operations at BYU-Hawaii.



Laura Tevaga

Director of University Communications

Laura Tevaga has spent the last 25 years in media and direct marketing, and has worked for the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, BYUtv, KBYU-TV & FM, and BYU Broadcasting. Before coming to BYU-Hawaii, Laura was Director of Development and Station Management at BYU Broadcasting where she served as a key member of the executive management team, providing direction and oversight for several television and radio stations and their 450+ employees. Laura also has extensive fundraising experience and has raised over $25 million for various non-profit organizations across Utah. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from BYU and an Executive MBA from BYU’s Marriott School of Management. Laura was born and raised in Chicago but now calls Laie, Hawaii home. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, socializing, and offering unsolicited advice to her husband Nofoa and their two teenagers.


Administrative Organization Chart