St. Cloud State president Robbyn Wacker to leave university

New SCSU president Robbyn Wacker
St. Cloud State University Robbyn Wacker joins a delegation from South Africa visiting in 2018. Wacker said Monday she's stepping down at the end of this academic year.
Paul Middlestaedt for MPR News 2018

St. Cloud State University President Robbyn Wacker announced she’ll leave her position at the end of this academic year.  

“Serving as SCSU’s president has been an honor and a privilege,” Wacker said in the Monday announcement. “This decision was extremely difficult; however, I feel great about what I and my leadership team have accomplished in the past six years…”

Wacker took on the job in 2018, during an ongoing period of declining student enrollment. The statewide trend was especially pronounced at the university, with student enrollment numbers falling by 38 percent over the last decade.  

That led to some changes at the school. In 2019, SCSU made cuts in several sports, including the men’s football team. Last June, the university laid off 21 faculty members and cut several majors and minors. University officials said that revenues weren’t keeping up with instructional costs.  

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This fall saw a slight departure from that trend: for the first time since 2015, student enrollment increased from the previous year.  

Wacker oversaw a recent expansion of online academic programs, too.  

“During her tenure, Dr. Wacker led the university through the most challenging time in higher education’s history with positivity, empathy and vision,” Minnesota State Chancellor Scott Olson said in the departure announcement.  

Wacker is the first woman to serve as president of the university. She previously held leadership roles at the University of Northern Colorado.

Wacker’s contract ends on June 30. Chancellor Olson said a search will start in the spring for an interim president.