Education

St. Cloud State’s president Wacker stepping down early amid expected budget cuts

New SCSU president Robbyn Wacker
Dr. Robbyn Wacker, pictured when she became St. Cloud State University president in 2018. She previously announced she would step down at the end of the academic year.
Paul Middlestaedt for MPR News

St. Cloud State University President Robbyn Wacker is stepping down earlier than scheduled ahead of anticipated budget cuts. 

Wacker announced last fall that she planned to leave at the end of the academic year. Her contract ends on June 30.

In a letter sent Wednesday to faculty and staff, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor Scott Olson said St. Cloud State is “facing financial pressures that will need to be addressed in the coming weeks.”

“I know these decisions can be challenging to a campus community and its morale,” he wrote. Olson said Wacker told him that decisions about the university’s long-term operations should be made by leaders who will be there to manage the transition.

St. Cloud State University campus seen
The campus of St. Cloud State University, pictured in June 2023. The university has struggled with student enrollment declines that have led to budget cuts and faculty layoffs.
Paul Middlestaedt for MPR News | 2023

Olson appointed Larry Lee, SCSU’s vice president for finance and administration, as acting president effective May 5 to usher the campus through the next two months.

Last month, Minnesota State’s board of trustees named Larry Dietz to serve as interim president starting July 1. Dietz served as president of Illinois State University from 2014 until retiring in 2021. He also held leadership roles at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Iowa State University.

Olson thanked Wacker for her “selfless devotion” to SCSU, calling her “a strategic thinker, a visionary leader, and an organizational innovator.”

St. Cloud State has about 10,000 students. The university has struggled with student enrollment declines that have already led to budget cuts and faculty layoffs. A partnership with a for-profit company to manage online courses also has been a source of contention among some faculty.

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