The Ohio University Board of Trustees named Duane Nellis as OU’s 21st president Wednesday at the university’s Dublin campus.
Nellis, 62, was the final candidate in the search and serves as the university honors professor at Texas Tech University. His first day as OU’s president will be July 1.
The other three presidential candidates — OU Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit, North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani and former University of New Mexico President Robert Frank — all dropped out of the search the week of Feb. 6.
David Descutner started serving as OU’s interim president Feb. 18, and his final day in that role is June 30. Former OU President Roderick McDavis left office Feb. 17.
During his presidential forum Jan. 10, Nellis said diversity and transparency are two vital parts of serving as university president.
Nellis served as Texas Tech’s president from June 2013 to January 2016. He expressed his frustration with Texas Tech’s leadership, describing a “bit of tension” that came from being in the same office building as the system’s chancellor, Robert Duncan, according to The Texas Tribune.
Texas Tech, which is located in Lubbock, Texas, had nearly 36,000 total students during fall 2015, according to the university’s Office of Institutional Research.
He was in the running for the presidency at the University of Wyoming during his time as Texas Tech’s president, but he was not selected for the position.
Nellis was one of four finalists for the chancellor position at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in March 2016, but University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen chose not to pick any of the four finalists for the job.
Nellis served as the president at University of Idaho from 2009-2013. During his time there, he served on the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, which was composed of a dozen university presidents who gave their approval for the college football playoff system. The playoff system, which began during the 2014-15 season, replaced the old Bowl Championship Series.
He spent about 22 years working at Kansas State University as a provost and senior vice president, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, director of the Institute for Social and Behavioral Research, head of the geography department, associate professor and assistant professor.
Nellis earned his Ph.D. in geography from Oregon State University in 1980, his master’s in geography from Oregon State in 1977 and his bachelor’s in earth sciences and geography at Montana State University in 1976.
Nellis, who was born in Spokane, Washington, lived in West Virginia with his wife Carolyn Ruth when he served as a dean at West Virginia University from 1997-2004. His two children, Jonathan and Jason, both reside in the Pittsburgh area.