University Of Wyoming Hires First Female President

Dec 18, 2015


The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees unanimously selected Laurie Nichols Friday to be UW’s next president.

Nichols is a provost and vice president of academic affairs at South Dakota State University. She will be the first female president in the University’s 130-year history.

The trustees have been searching for a new president since March. Nichols and two other finalists visited campus this month to interview for the position. Board President Dave Palmerlee says public input played a large role in the hiring decision.

“She’s a South Dakota farm girl who has grown into a very high caliber academic professional,” says Palmerlee. “That in itself speaks volumes. And it’s my sense that she rose to the top among the faculty, the students and the staff. That’s a pretty good sign where you ought to go.”

Nichols will visit campus periodically before she officially takes over for current president Dick McGinity sometime before July 1.

“I’m feeling really, really good about it and very excited about it,” says McGinity. “Laurie’s experience and skillset is ideal for the presidency of the University of Wyoming. I expect it will be a number of months before Laurie is here. And over that period of time, we’ll be very busy informing her about the University and the state—and any number of operational things.”

Nichols has worked in higher education since 1988. She holds education degrees from South Dakota State University, Colorado State University and Ohio State University.

She will be hired on a three-year contract with an annual base salary of $350,000. Nichols will also receive a $48,000 housing allowance, a $25,000 retention payment and a $35,000 contribution to a deferred compensation plan.