Paul Smith's College provost named president of Nicolet College

PAUL SMITHS, NY (04/01/2015)(readMedia)-- Paul Smith's College Provost Richard Nelson announced Wednesday that he has been named president of Nicolet College in Wisconsin.

Nelson, who has served as Paul Smith's provost for the past nine years, will take the helm at Nicolet July 1.

"It's an honor to be selected as president of Nicolet College," Nelson said, "and I owe much to my Paul Smith's College experience. Memories and friendships too numerous to count will accompany me from New York's North Country to Wisconsin's Northwoods, and I am truly grateful for each one. There will always be a little bit of 'Smitty' in my heart, and I wish only the best for the students, faculty and staff who make this place so special."

During his years as provost at Paul Smith's, Nelson:

– Started many new degree programs and minors in response to student interests and employer demand.

– Instituted a comprehensive award-winning student success program that increased student retention by 10 percent.

– Led an all-campus strategic planning effort that tied mission, values and goals to planning, budgeting, reporting, effectiveness assessment and ongoing improvement.

He also currently serves as board chair of the Adirondack Economic Development Commission and is a member of numerous other community and professional organizations.

Prior to his service at Paul Smith's, Nelson served at the University of Minnesota-Crookston as associate vice chancellor of Academic Affairs; director for the Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources, College Extension Liaison; interim executive director of the Red River Trade Corridor; and chair of the Agriculture Management Division.

He earned a doctorate and a master of science, both in food science from Cornell University; and a bachelor of science in fermentation science from the University of California, Davis.

"Dr. Nelson's extensive experience in higher education and outstanding leadership abilities were precisely what we were looking for in the next president of Nicolet College," said Ron Zimmerman, Nicolet's chair of the Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee. "The board was impressed with Dr. Nelson's ability to collaborate with faculty and staff across campus at Paul Smith's College and his ability to recognize talent and then foster the development of these individuals."

The search for a new provost is underway at Paul Smith's. For information about the position, visit the career opportunities page on the Paul Smith's College website


At Paul Smith's College, it's about the experience. Paul Smith's, which was founded in 1946, is the only bachelor's degree-granting institution of higher education in the Adirondacks. Our programs – in fields including hospitality, culinary arts, forestry, natural resources, entrepreneurship and the sciences – draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. For more information: