MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University President Les Wong announced today that he has accepted the presidency at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in California. He is scheduled to assume his new post on Aug. 1. Wong has served as NMU’s top administrator since 2004.
“I am extremely honored to take the leadership of one of the gems of the California state system,” said Wong. “My years in service to Northern Michigan University and to the Upper Peninsula will not be forgotten. Northern’s magic is special and Phyllis and I are fortunate to have been a part of its evolution.”
During Wong’s tenure, NMU engaged in a broad-based strategic planning process, resulting in the university’s “Road Map to 2015.” The evolving plan focuses on four areas for improvement: innovation, helping students lead meaningful lives, leveraging campus attributes and community engagement. NMU has gained a national reputation for the latter as one of about 300 U.S. higher education institutions to earn the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
NMU also continued its high-tech advancements under Wong by becoming the first university in the country to operate its own WiMAX network. This fourth-generation (4G) technology is capable of transferring data, voice and video at distances far beyond what is available with traditional Wi-Fi. Based largely on this effort, NMU was selected as the site for President Barack Obama to announce his Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative in February 2011.
Wong oversaw the largest gift in NMU history: a $5 million commitment to enhance the university’s ability to recruit high-achieving students. Other notable achievements included launching a study-abroad program in Cuba, which only 16 U.S. institutions had been licensed to do, and earning Higher Learning Commission accreditation for NMU in 2010 through the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP).
Before arriving at NMU, Wong served as vice president for academic affairs at Valley City State University in North Dakota.
“Dr. Wong has been an engaging leader and tireless advocate for NMU,” said Brian Cloyd, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees. “He is committed to the high-quality education and learning in a rapidly changing world that Northern provides, and has recognized the importance of community engagement and collaboration. Les worked with the board to develop an evolving strategic plan that will continue to guide the university’s academic vision and priorities. He has capably served this institution for eight years. We wish him and Phyllis well as they embark on a new adventure in San Francisco.”
The NMU trustees appointed alumnus David Haynes president for a minimum two-year term, effective May 14. Haynes has professionally served his alma mater in various capacities, including adviser to five presidents, for the past 27 years (see separate release). Other details of the transition, including Wong’s last day, will be announced as they become available.
Wong becomes the 13th president at SFSU, which enrolls nearly 30,000 students. The SFSU press release on his appointment is available at http://www.sfsu.edu/news/.