Hafen, originally from St. George, became a general authority of the LDS Church in 1996 when he was sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy, one of the church's top governing bodies. He has also served as provost and professor of law at Brigham Young University and as president of the church's Ricks College, which is now BYU-Idaho.
Tom Lamb, chairman of the church's Southern Utah Public Affairs Committee, said he is glad to see Hafen return to Southern Utah. Lamb lauded Hafen's academic credentials and church service.
"He's certainly a brilliant man," Lamb said. "He's had a brilliant career academically and served faithfully for many years."