In a crowded room inside the Atwood Memorial Center, St. Cloud State University introduced Dr. Robbyn Wacker as its 24th President. This morning was the first-time faculty and staff were able to officially welcome the president-elect.
“On the cusp of the sesquicentennial, our 150th anniversary, we couldn’t have found a better leader for this institution” said Interim President of SCSU Ashish Vaidya.
Wacker was one of four finalists announced in April as possible candidates for the position, edging out Brian Johnson, Daniel Shipp, and Dione Somerville.
“They were all very strong candidates but one name kept rising to the top” said Chancellor of Minnesota State Dr. Devinder Malhotra.
Update 4:00PM CST 05/17/18*
The decision to name Wacker as the new president makes her the third woman to ever hold the title and first in a permanent capacity. Isabelle Lawrence served as acting President from 1914-1916 and Suzanne Williams served as Interim President from 1999-2000.
Wacker started as Assistant Professor of Gerontology at University of Northern Colorado in 1990, according to Wacker’s personal Curriculum Vita. A career spanning over 20 years with the University involved a variety of leadership roles. Including Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic affairs from 2011 to 2017. She was the longest serving Provost in UNC’s history.
“It was such a rich experience and there is only one area I dint get a lot of experience in and that’s with parking” said Wacker. “I know it’s an issue on campus, I’ve already read the student newspaper, I’ll be happy to get on board about parking.
She is a first-generation college student, according to Wacker’s personal website, both her parents never completed High School. With strong support Wacker pursued education to its highest honor of a Doctorate.
Wacker received both her Bachelor and Master’s degree in Gerontology from the University of Colorado. Then attending Iowa State University in 1990 earning a Ph. D. in Sociology.
“I paid for college with help of scholarships, work-study, and delivering pizza on the side” said Wacker.
She cites experience as the driving force of her passion for higher education. Wacker hopes to bring that passion to SCSU to be an advocate for all those who feel underserved in the process.
“[public higher education] changed my life and want others to have the same opportunity regardless of their socioeconomic status” said Wacker. “I don’t want their to ever be a student who feels they don’t belong here because they can’t afford it.
Before applying for the position, Wacker explored the expectations outlined by candidate search and the mission and vision of SCSU. She believes it to closely resemble her values toward higher education.
“Having a mission that says you want to become Minnesota’s 21st century engaged university,” said Wacker. “A vision that seeks to provide students with a rigorous and relevant academic experience. With engaged active learning opportunities and intellectually vibrant inclusive and diverse community is an amazing mission and vision to implement. And can’t wait.”
Wacker currently holds the position of senior campaign advisor for the office of development and alumni relations at the University of Northern Colorado. Wacker’s appointment takes effect July 1st.