- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - University of Wyoming trustees on Friday announced their choice of South Dakota State University administrator Laurie Nichols to serve as the next president of UW.

The trustees voted unanimously to select Nichols from among three finalists for the job. She’s set to take office by July 1 and will be the first woman president of the Wyoming university.

Nichols is provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at South Dakota State. She succeeds Dick McGinity, who has been UW president for almost two years.

“This is just an incredible opportunity for me, and I am beside myself with excitement at being able to come to Wyoming,” Nichols said in a statement released by UW. “It’s a great university and a wonderful state, and I don’t think I could have found a better place and a better fit.”

Dave Palmerlee, president of the UW Board of Trustees, said the panel is delighted to have someone with Nichol’s experience and enthusiasm take the job.

“We’re confident she will work well with the trustees and UW’s many stakeholders to lift the university to new heights of excellence,” Palmerlee said in a statement from UW.

Nichols three-year contract includes annual base salary of $350,000, a $48,000 housing allowance, $25,000 retention payment and $35,000 contribution to a deferred compensation plan, the university stated.

UW said Nichols has held her current post at South Dakota State since 2009. She was dean of the SDSU College of Education and Human Sciences from 1994 to 2008.

In 2008 and 2009, Nichols served for nearly a year as interim president of Northern State University in Aberdeen.

Nichols earned a bachelor’s degree in education from South Dakota State in 1978 then got a master’s degree in vocational and adult education from Colorado State University in 1984 and a Ph.D. in family and consumer sciences education from Ohio State University in 1988.

She and her husband, Tim Nichols, have two college-age daughters.

McGinity was appointed to the job of administering the university with about 13,400 students in January 2014. He replaced Bob Sternberg, who resigned in November 2013.

The other finalists for UW president were Jeremy Haefner, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, and Duane Nellis, the president of Texas Tech University.

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