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Welcome to the personal history of Michael O. Leavitt.  A personal history falls on a continuum of candor somewhere between a journal and a published autobiography. It is not a substitute for a journal that records the activities from each day, whether important or trivial. However, it provides the luxury of length and the inclusion of whatever I want to recount. This is a luxury not afforded a commercial biography. My personal history has been compiled over many years, and unless otherwise specified, I am the principal author. I have been assisted in editing and research by those acknowledged in each volume. Some parts are available for public viewing; other parts are password protected.  However, the entire body of work is copywrite protected. A limited number of copies have been printed.  The website allows the collection to evolve as I have time to work on the project.  I welcome reflection from others in the comment section, particularly details I may have omitted or got wrong.  While I have researched various parts of the history to refresh my memory, much of the content is a product of my memory. 

A Sense of Place and Purpose

A Sense of Place and Purpose encompasses both my Leavitt and Okerlund heritage, as well as my own recollections, beginning with my birth in 1951 and ending in 1992 when I was elected governor of Utah. This volume includes my upbringing and young adulthood; my early professional life; marriage to Jackie; and the beginnings of our own family together.

Most of Volume I was drawn from two separate books I wrote in 2007 and 2008 with the help of a former colleague in the Governor’s Office, Therese Anderson Grinceri. Those were titled A Sense of Place and A Sense of Purpose. The 2021 version consolidates the two into one—A Sense of Place and Purpose.


Real and Right

This volume recounts my stewardship as governor of Utah between January 1993 and November 2003, when I resigned to become a cabinet officer in the administration of President George W. Bush.

Real and Right breaks down the job of governor and describes how my team and I approached the task. This type of review elicited many stories and memorable moments. Volume II also responds to a question I am often asked: how would I summarize our most impactful accomplishments? It takes time for the answer to such a question to mature; real impact occurs over many years. It has now been nearly twenty years since my service concluded, which is plenty of time to get a good sense of what worked and what did not.


In Service as a Family

Volume III turns the focus onto family, with a central question: How did my service as governor affect each of them? When I was elected, Jackie’s and my five children ranged in age from two to fifteen years old. Jackie was thrust into a whirlwind of new expectations and duties, her life no longer her own in many ways. My entry into public life had a profound impact not just on us, but on our parents, my brothers, and her sisters.


A Sacred Trust

A Sacred Trust seeks to answer that question by detailing eight legacy accomplishments I believe shaped the future of Utah long term. Against that standard, I have written chapters on the 2002 Olympic games; the land exchange we did with the federal government involving reform of the state’s school trust land system; my role in returning control of welfare to the states; the founding and establishment of Western Governors University; creation of a charter schools movement in Utah; the 2005 Growth Summit, which produced a wide range of quality-of-life initiatives, including the rebuild of Interstate 15 and construction of Legacy Highway; and an initiative to double the number of engineering graduates from Utah’s colleges and universities via a partnership between high schools and higher education, which produced 40,000 new engineers and positioned Utah asa technology capitol.

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