JANUARY 16, 2008

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NSU President Larry Williams announces retirement

Dr. Larry Williams, a 40-year veteran of Oklahoma higher education, has announced that he will retire as president of the Northeastern State University effective June 30.

Williams, who became the university’s 15th president in July 1997, has been on medical leave due to complications resulting from a heart attack suffered last March.

“Although I am very pleased with my recovery thus far, I am still working to get back to where I would like to be,” Williams said. “The decision to step down is a difficult one, but I am looking forward to the pleasure of spending time with my grandchildren and finding other ways in which I can be of service to the higher education community.”

Last spring, the Regional University System of Oklahoma board named Kim Cherry, NSU vice president for administration, as the institution’s acting president.

Cherry praised Williams’ vision and commitment to NSU. “There has been tremendous progress in many areas throughout the University under Dr. Williams’ leadership, and we are all very grateful for his years of dedication.”

During the past decade, Williams has guided the institution through several major transitions, including record student enrollment, campus wide reorganization and construction of a branch campus in Broken Arrow. His leadership has resulted in streamlining NSU's academic programs and providing opportunities for faculty development, along with an emphasis on expanding and improving NSU's Tahlequah campus and branch campuses in Muskogee and Broken Arrow.

“President Williams’ leadership of NSU over the past 10 years has been unsurpassed. His vision has ensured that NSU will continue to offer high quality, relevant, academic programs that are taught by first rate faculty,” said Belva Howard, chair of the regents of the Regional University System of Oklahoma. “NSU students have found in Larry Williams an outstanding leader and mentor who has taken an interest in helping them achieve their educational goals. The Regents express our appreciation to Dr. Williams for a job well done. We will miss him greatly at NSU and we wish him and his family the very best.”

Williams began his administrative career in higher education in 1967 at Oklahoma State University. He later served as vice president for Administration at the University of Central Oklahoma, and was president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University for ten years before taking the helm at NSU.

For RUSO, he has served several terms as chair of the Presidents’ Council. Under the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Williams has twice chaired both the statewide council of presidents and the legislative affairs committees. He has served on the budget, legislative, and capital bond committees.

Williams is a 1991 graduate of Leadership Oklahoma and has been a member of the organization’s advisory board. He is an active member of the Oklahoma Academy, fulfilling various leadership roles. In addition to numerous civic and organizational memberships and an impressive array of awards, he is a member of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce and serves on the boards of directors for the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority, the Oklahoma Arts Institute, and the BancFirst Advisory Board of Directors.

RUSO, which serves as NSU’s governing board, will conduct the search process for a new chief executive officer.

Contact: Sean Michael Kennedy, NSU, (918) 444-2897