SDSU Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Laurie Nichols has been selected as the University of Wyoming’s next president.
The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted Nichols as the 26th UW president in a special meeting Friday, Dec. 18.
She plans to stay at SDSU through the spring semester and will take office July 1, 2016. Nichols will be the first female president of UW.
Nichols said she is excited, if not also overwhelmed.
“I didn’t know this would ever happen to me. So it’s just a little bit unreal, but very exciting,” she said. “Obviously I think it’s an incredible opportunity and they’re putting a lot of faith in me … they are willing to give me the chance to be their president so there is a lot of gratitude going back to the people of Wyoming.”
SDSU President David Chicoine said Nichols’ experience as provost has prepared her to serve as the next UW president.
“Many of us have benefited from Laurie’s work and her leadership and experiences made her a very strong and competitive candidate to be a university president,” Chicoine said in an SDSU press release. “The University of Wyoming, that state’s land-grant university, is a terrific opportunity. She has been an important leader at our university. I am extremely pleased and excited for her.”
SDSU has been part of Nichols’ life for more than 20 years. She attended SDSU as a student, worked as a dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences for 13 years and as provost for the past seven years.
“South Dakota State has been part of my life since I enrolled here as an undergraduate student,” Nichols said in an email to SDSU staff. “While it will be difficult to leave my alma mater, my husband, Tim, and I look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.”
Nichols will succeed Dick McGinity who has served as the UW president for the past two years.
Other finalists considered for the position were Jeremy Haefner, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and Duane Nellis, president of Texas Tech University.