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Idaho State News


Five finalists have been picked from a list of over 80 candidates who applied to become Idaho State University’s 14th president.


The finalists were selected after 12 semifinalists were interviewed earlier this week by the Idaho State University President Search Committee.

Listed in alphabetical order, the Idaho State University president finalists are:

Matt Cecil is Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) – enrollment: 15,700. Dr. Cecil joined NKU in 2021 and supervises and oversees more than 1200 faculty and staff. Prior to joining NKU, Dr. Cecil served as Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he also served for four years as Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.  Dr. Cecil has also worked as a professor at Wichita State University and at his alma mater, South Dakota State University.

  1. Shane Huntis theDean of the College of Business and the Michael C. Ruettgers Professor of Marketing at Idaho State University (ISU) – enrollment: 12,600. Dr. Hunt joined ISU in 2020 and has overseen a 9% enrollment increase in the College of Business, established 17 new privately funded scholarships and also raised funds to make improvements to the building that houses the College of Business. Prior to joining ISU, Dr. Hunt served as Dean of the College of Business at Arkansas State University where he also worked as a professor of marketing. Since his arrival at ISU, Dr. Hunt has joined several Boards including the Pocatello/Chubbuck Chamber of Commerce, the Girl Scouts of Silver Sage and the United Way of Southeastern Idaho.

Cynthia Pemberton is President of Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC) – enrollment: 3,800. Dr. Pemberton became president in 2018 where she oversees all facets of the institution. Accomplishments include elimination of a budget deficit, secured funding to open LCSC’s Schweitzer Career Technical Education Center and established a $1 million partnership with a private entity to support student scholarships. Prior to joining LCSC, Dr. Pemberton served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Colorado Mesa University and as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Dickenson State University in North Dokota. She also spent 14 years working at Idaho State University as an Interim Dean, Department Chair and as a faculty member.

Robbyn Wacker is President of St. Cloud State University (SCSU) in Minnesota – enrollment:11,000. Dr. Wacker was named president in 2018 where she has instituted a new strategic plan and has grown new undergraduate enrollment, which increased 16% this fall, marking the institution’s first enrollment increase since 2015. She also established the Minnesota Institute of Technology to expand technology opportunities for students. Prior to leading SCSU, Dr. Wacker served as Provost and Senior Vice President, and two Deanships at her alma mater, the University of Northern Colorado, where she also worked as a tenured full professor.

Robert Wagner is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Utah State University (USU) – enrollment: 28,000. A 16-year veteran at USU, Dr. Wagner oversees various facets of the institution’s operations including student success, academic programing, fundraising, marketing and student recruiting and retention. He recently co-chaired the development of USU’s first strategic plan in 20 years. He also led USU’s online delivery programs, which have been ranked in the top 25 in the nation for eight consecutive years by U.S. News and World Report. Prior to his current position, Dr. Wagner also served in various other positions at USU including Vice President of Academic and Instruction Services and Executive Vice Provost and Dean of Academic and Instructional Services.

Arrangements are underway for the finalists to visit the Idaho State University campuses in Pocatello and in Meridian next week.

Open forums are planned for students, faculty, staff and the public to meet and hear from the finalists. There will also be an online portal available to provide feedback about the candidates.

Additional information about the search, the finalists, campus visit itineraries and the candidate feedback portal will be posted on the Idaho State University website:

“We have an outstanding pool of finalists to choose from,” State Board Member and Search Committee Co-Chair Cindy Siddoway said. “I encourage the campus community, alumni and others to make time next week to attend the open forums and hear what these candidates have to say and then please share your thoughts with us on the online portal.”

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the President Search Committee for their outstanding work in helping us identify these candidates,” added State Board Member Cally Roach, who served as the Search Committee’s other co-chair. “ISU has built great momentum over these past 5 years, and I am very confident every one of these candidates can take that momentum to the next level to the benefit of students, the community, and the entire state.”

The State Board of Education will conduct interviews with the finalists on December 14. The Board intends to name Idaho State University’s new president by the end of the year.

Last June, ISU President Kevin Satterlee announced that he is retiring after leading the institution for five and a half years.


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