ATHENS — The Ohio University Board of Trustees, in a unanimous vote, formally elected Dr. M. Duane Nellis as the 21st president of Ohio University during a special meeting of the board on Wednesday.
Dr. Nellis, 62, who earned his doctorate in geography from Oregon State University, is the past president and currently serves as a University Honors and Geoscience Professor at Texas Tech University — a role he has held since January 2016. He was the President of Texas Tech from 2013 to 2016.
Ohio University’s incoming president has agreed to a six-year term, beginning July 1, 2017, with an initial annual base salary of $475,000.
Nellis was one of four finalists for the position who were brought to the Ohio University campus for public forums. In the weeks since those forums, three of the four candidates for the position had dropped out of the running for the position.
Dr. Nellis shared that he was eager to begin his journey as Ohio University’s next president. He said, “Serving as the 21st President of Ohio University is great and deep honor. Ruthie and I feel privileged to join this wonderful community and make this our home.”
Dr. Nellis praised the University on its past successes and stated goals for his tenure as president. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to build upon Ohio’s current successes and to push the university into greater national prominence and increasing its status as a nationally-renowned research institution.”
Board of Trustees Chair David Wolfort lauded the work of the search committee and all of their efforts that led to a successful search in naming Dr. Nellis to the position.
“The Search Committee brought us a wonderful slate of candidates; the public forums were civil, constructive, and insightful; and the comments we received were thoughtful and discerning. I cannot thank the community enough for their support and advice throughout this process. We strived to conduct a transparent and inclusive search. The reward has been the successful completion of a process that has brought students, faculty, staff, community members and alumni closer together.”
A native of the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Nellis has a progressive and broad career in higher education. He served as President of the University of Idaho from 2009-2013, where he worked to enhance the learning environment for students through new and creative approaches both inside and outside the classroom. He was previously Provost and Senior Vice President of Kansas State University from 2004-2009 and Dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University from 1997-2004.
Dr. Nellis serves as a trustee for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. He has been a member of the Council on Competitiveness, a Washington D.C.-based organization committed to advancing U.S. competitiveness in the global economy and a rising standard of living for all Americans and currently serves on the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) Executive Committee for the Council on Innovation and Competitiveness.
His scholarly and research contributions include authored or co-authored chapters in books, articles in professional journals and numerous other publications.
He earned his doctoral and master’s degrees in geography from Oregon State University and his bachelor’s degree in earth sciences and geography from Montana State University.
He and his wife have two adult sons.
It is expected that Dr. Nellis will return to Ohio in March for the Board of Trustees meeting in Athens. A formal welcome reception from Dr. and Mrs. Nellis will be announced at a later date.