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Lynne Ward stepping down after 15 years at helm of Utah’s my529 educational savings plan

Lynne Ward
Utah Educational Savings Plan

SALT LAKE CITY — Lynne Ward, executive director of my529, Utah’s educational savings plan, will step down on Oct. 4.

Under Ward’s leadership, my529’s assets under management have grown from $950 million to $14 billion.

Numbers of accounts have also grown significantly under Ward’s management and climbed from 48,000 to 400,000.

My529, formerly known as Utah Educational Savings Plan, has continually improved its offerings and lowered fees by 40 percent.

The fund has consistently achieved the highest rating from Morningstar, a global financial services and investment research firm.

During Ward’s tenure, a children’s savings account platform was created which is utilized by nonprofits and government entities for the benefit of low-income families nationwide.

“It has been an honor to serve at the helm of my529 for the last 15 years, where I was able to assist thousands of families as they save for higher education, ultimately reducing their need for student loans. Leading an organization like my529 that makes college dreams possible for hundreds of thousands of students has been an immense privilege,” said Ward in a statement.

Ward was recently named to the board of directors of Merit Medical Systems, Inc., a leading manufacturer and marketer of disposable medical devices used in interventional, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures including cardiology, radiology, oncology, critical care and endoscopy.

According to a Utah System of Higher Education press release, the Board of Regents plans to appoint Richard K. Ellis as Ward’s successor on Sept. 13. The board is scheduled to meet at Utah State University Sept. 12-13.

Ellis is My529’s senior director of compliance, finance and investments. He is also a former Utah State Treasurer. He has also served as director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget and executive director of the Department of Administrative Services for the state of Utah.

Ellis earned a master’s of business administration from the University of Utah and a bachelor of science in business from Brigham Young University.