Michael Satz, 2019 Icon

Michelle Privette//August 16, 2019

Michael Satz, 2019 Icon

Michelle Privette//August 16, 2019

Michael Satz

Michael Satz poses with his wife and their children, and says raising his kids is the best thing he has ever done. Photo by Pete Grady Photography.

“My biggest passion is making things better for people,” says Michael Satz, who attempts to better the lives of others on a daily basis. This passion was instilled in Satz at a young age by his mother, who adopted him when he was 3 years old and raised him as a single parent.

Satz credits his mother for his entire worldview, and believes that his chosen career stems from her as well.

Satz began working for the University of Idaho in 2006 as a law professor, and later moved through the ranks toward administrative work, where he thrived. He now serves as the associate vice president and executive officer at the university.

“This is my natural setting from as far back as I can remember,” says Satz, who remembers going to classes with his mother, who works as a professor. “I realize now that I was really learning from her how to do this kind of stuff, even when I was a little boy.”

Former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Linda Copple Trout, who has known Satz ever since he began working at the University of Idaho, believes that Satz has shown great leadership in his role, and also that he is a wonderful person to work with.

“Whether it’s teaching as a faculty member at the law school or as the acting dean or now in his current capacity, he [brings] a lot of energy and enthusiasm to whatever it is he’s involved in,” Trout says.

Satz attributes much of his professional success to key mentors who have supported him throughout his life. Before entering academia, Satz served in the U.S. Navy as a commissioned officer. During that time, Capt. Randy Etter and Capt. Steve Jasper, along with his enlisted sailors, were very influential in setting the tone for his career and teaching him the importance of service-oriented leadership.

As a leader, Satz strives to create an equitable and diverse workplace that values and lifts up each of his employees, as well as each member of the Idaho community. Civic engagement is a top priority for him, and that includes connecting with and supporting marginalized groups.

“Right now, there is a lot of cultural and social bullying happening. People are thinking that its okay to throw children in cages because they are brown,” Satz says. “It is very, very important that we stand up for these weaker groups and say, ‘we see you, we recognize you, and we want you as a part of our community.’”

In his current position, Satz puts action behind his words by working with and advocating for various organizations, including:

  • City Club of Boise
  • Educate Idaho Network
  • Neighbors United Steering Committee
  • University of Idaho Latino Advisory Council
  • Boise Valley Economic Partnership
  • RISE: Treasure Valley Education Partnership
  • Boise Metro Chamber

“It’s my job to do things for people, and we’re really heavily engaged. People won’t know who I am or that I’m doing all this stuff behind the scenes, but that’s part of the fun, that’s the rewarding part,” Satz says. “You make changes for people, but they’ll never know that you were there.”


After graduating from Southern Methodist University in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree, Michael Satz served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy. Following his discharge, he attended law school at the University of Michigan, where he graduated with honors. He began working at the University of Idaho College of Law as an associate professor in 2006, and has since progressed to his current role, associate vice president and executive officer at the University of Idaho. In his position, Satz strives to create an equitable and diverse Idaho community that puts the needs of people first.


Became a father

Commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy

Graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School

Saw current and former employees find success

Taught students, using the experience he has gained throughout his career to help them succeed in theirs