MARQUETTE – Les Wong will become Northern Michigan University’s 13th president. The NMU Board of Trustees unanimously voted to offer him the presidential appointment at a special meeting this morning and he accepted.

Wong has served as vice president for academic affairs at Valley City State University in North Dakota since 1999. VCSU is the state system’s “model” campus for curriculum innovation emphasizing technology. It was also the second university in the nation to implement a 100 percent laptop computer initiative.

His previous administrative positions include provost and academic vice president, along with six months as interim president, at the University of Southern Colorado; and academic dean at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., where he started as a faculty member.

Wong is expected to begin his new duties at NMU on or before July 1.

“My wife and I are thoroughly excited and look forward to joining Northern Michigan University,” said Wong during a telephone interview from his office. “The thing that really sold us on Northern was the spirit of the people, the university's student-centered approach, and its reputation for quality academics.

“I really want to thank the board, the university and the community for their confidence in offering me this opportunity. I also hope people appreciate the incredible job that Mike Roy has done as interim president. I look forward to working with him and other members of the team."

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  Wong holds a doctorate in educational psychology from Washington State University, a masterÂ’s in experimental psychology from Eastern Washington, and a bachelorÂ’s in psychology from Gonzaga University.

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  Karl Weber of Marquette, vice chair of the board and member of the search advisory committee, said his favorable impression of Wong was solidified last week during a visit to the Valley City State campus.

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  “I am optimistic that he could be one of NorthernÂ’s strongest presidents ever,” Weber said. “I have that much confidence in him and his ability to lead this university.”

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  Wong will assume the post previously occupied by Judi Bailey, who left NMU last spring to become president of Western Michigan University. Mike Roy has been serving as interim. He will return to his former position as vice president for finance and administration. Details of WongÂ’s contract with NMU remain to be finalized.

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  Sam Benedict, trustee and chair of the search advisory committee, said there was an initial pool of about 70 applicants for the NMU presidency.

 Â Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚ Ã‚  “There were some very strong candidates with impressive credentials, but in the end Dr. Wong received unanimous support from the search committee as well,” Benedict said. “Overall, I am very pleased with the way the process worked.”


Leslie E. “Les” Wong

Career at a Glance

•Valley City State University in North Dakota. Vice president for academic affairs, 1999-present

•University of Southern Colorado, Pueblo. Provost and academic vice president, 1996-99; interim president, Jan. 1 to June 30, 1997

•The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. Academic dean, 1990-96; faculty member, 1988-1996

•Pierce College in Tacoma, Wash. Psychology instructor, 1974-1988; women’s varsity tennis coach, 1975-1981


Ph.D. Educational Psychology, Washington State University, 1986

M.S.  Experimental Psychology, Eastern Washington University, 1974

B.A.  Psychology, Gonzaga University (Spokane, Wash.), 1972

Personal Information

•Married to Phyllis Wong, director of online learning at Valley City State University and online English/history instructor for Baker Online (Baker College in Flint, Mich.)

•Children: Isaac, 29, a mathematician; Nathan, 25, a professional flutist; and Brian, 22, 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army

•Interests: outdoor recreation (running, fly fishing, alpine backpacking, canoeing, baseball); reading ethnic and civil war literature; and collecting antique measuring instruments

Prepared By
Kristi Evans
News Director