Tuesday, January 24, 2017

BREAKING: NKU President Geoffrey Mearns Leaving University For Ball State

NKU President Geoff Mearns. FTM file. 
Fort Thomas Matters has learned that Northern Kentucky University President, Geoffrey S. Mearns, is leaving the university for the same position at Ball State University. He will be the 17th President of Ball State and will be announced at a ceremony at the school at 1:30 p.m today.

Mearns has served as president of Northern Kentucky University since August 1, 2012.

"I express my gratitude to my colleagues and friends at NKU. Something special is happening at NKU and I'll always be proud of what we accomplished there.”
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Sen. Wil Schroder echoed those sentiments.

"President Geoff Mearns has been a tireless advocate for the students, faculty, and staff of Northern Kentucky University (NKU). As a state senator, I have had a great working relationship, and his advocacy for performance-based funding at Kentucky’s public universities was crucial for the legislative changes that were made," he said.

"He will be difficult to replace, and as an alumnus of NKU, I am sorry to see President Mearns go.  I wish President Mearns and his family the best of luck with future endeavors, and I appreciate his unprecedented commitment to Northern Kentucky University.”


Ball State’s last president, Paul Ferguson, resigned almost a year ago after only 18 months in office. Ferguson and the chairman of the board, Rick Hall, clashed early in Ferguson’s tenure.

Ball State’s board of trustees last month signed a $105,000 contract with Franke Associates, a Northfield, Ill., consultant experienced in leadership change at universities, to end the nearly year-long search.

“The goal is to ensure that the new president can hit the ground running,” the 10-page contract stated. One of the keys to the transition will be “what worked last time, what didn’t work, as well as what will be done differently.” And one of the key performance issues the new president will be reviewed on is building rapport with the school's board of trustees.

During his tenure at NKU, Mearns has led the development of a new five-year strategic plan that is guiding our University to its 50th anniversary in 2018.

In 2014, as a result of Mearns’ effective advocacy, the University secured a $97 million investment from the state to design and build a modern health innovation center that will house an integrated portfolio of programs to prepare healthcare professionals and to provide solutions to the health and wellness challenges facing the Commonwealth and the nation. To enhance this public investment, Mearns secured an $8 million philanthropic investment from St. Elizabeth Healthcare to support the simulation facilities in the health innovation center.  This gift is the second largest in the University’s history.  The center is scheduled to open in 2018.

In 2016, Mearns also successfully advocated for a substantial increase – more than $5.1 million – in annual state operating support for NKU.  These resources will begin to address the historic funding disparity that has impeded the growth and impact of the University.

Prior to his arrival at NKU, Mr. Mearns was provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Cleveland State University. Prior to becoming provost, he served four and a half years as dean and professor of law at CSU’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

Before his tenure at Cleveland State, Mearns practiced law for more than 15 years. Mr. Mearns’ legal career included service as a federal prosecutor in the United States Department of Justice. ience Community.

Mearns earned a bachelor's degree in English from Yale University in 1981 and a juris doctor from the University of Virginia in 1987.

Mearns and his wife, Jennifer, live in Fort Thomas and have five children: Bridget, Christina, Clare, Molly, and Geoffrey, Jr.

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