Montana State University Billings has picked a new chancellor.

On Tuesday, Montana State University President Waded Cruzado announced Mark Nook as the new chancellor. Nook will will succeed Rolf Groseth, who announced his retirement in January and stepped down May 3 after graduation.

Sheila Stearns, Montana’s former commissioner of higher education, had been serving as interim chancellor.

Nook most recently served as the senior vice president for academic and student affairs at the University of Wisconsin, a system with more than 180,000 students.

“Dr. Nook inherits one of the strongest institutions in our system,” Cruzado said in a press release. “He will have an opportunity to build upon a solid institutional and community foundation. His enthusiastic leadership style is an ideal fit for the Billings campus.”

Nook said he felt humbled and honored by the appointment.

“I feel fortunate that Dr. Cruzado has entrusted me to lead this storied university,” he said. “Everyone we met during the search process greatly impressed my wife, Cheryl, and me. There is a deep commitment to helping each student reach her or his educational, professional and personal life goals. I look forward to addressing the challenges ahead and strengthening our institution within Billings and our region.”

Nook was the final chancellor candidate to interview for the job. Other candidates were Ricardo Maestas, special assistant to the Texas State University System chancellor; Michael Droge, president of Park University in Parkville, Miss.; and Margaret Madden, provost and vice president for academic affairs at State University of New York Potsdam.

Nook was picked by an 18-person search committee charged with finding the next chancellor.

He has a doctorate in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a master's degree in astrophysics from Iowa State University and a bachelor's degree in math and physics from Southwest Minnesota State University.

Nook was interim chancellor at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point from 2009 to 2010, where he also served two stints as provost and vice chancellor from 2007 to 2009 and from 2010 to 2011.

Prior to that, he held multiple administrative roles at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.

The Board of Regents will vote next Friday on Nook’s appointment. Upon approval, Nook will assume his new role as chancellor the first day of July.


Nick is a general assignment reporter for The Billings Gazette

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