MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – UPDATE 9/20/2022: The final candidate in NMU’s presidential search is Mike Godard, Ph.D. Godard is currently as the Provost at Southeast Missouri State University.

NMU lists the following biographic description of Godard to their Presidential Search Website:

Godard currently serves as the Provost at Southeast Missouri State University. Southeast is a regional comprehensive rural-serving institution (RSI) with an enrollment of approximately 10,000 students. Southeast offers more than 150 areas of study at both the bachelors and masters degree levels with two regional campuses and a River Campus dedicated to the visual and performing arts. Godard has primary responsibility for leading the overall administration and promotion of academic excellence in the faculty and academic programs. Godard recently co-chaired and guided the university through the development of a new strategic action plan. Additionally, during his tenure at Southeast he led a shared governance process to complete a comprehensive academic prioritization review process that resulted in the transformation and enhancement of a large majority of the academic programs and the development of several new high demand degree programs. Godard has also provided leadership that has resulted in the growth of graduate and international enrollment through strategic partnerships and collaborative relationships that have provided enhanced diversity throughout the campus community. As the institution initiates a comprehensive campaign, Godard has played a significant role in securing philanthropic and corporate support for identified development initiatives.

You can read NMU’s full biography of Godard here.

You can find a full schedule of when to meet each candidate in the 9/14/2022 update below.


UPDATE 9/19/2022: The second candidate up in NMU’s search is Brock Tessman, Ph.D. Tessman currently serves as the Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education for the Montana University System (MUS). NMU lists the following biographic description of Tessman to their Presidential Search Website:

A Michigan native, Dr. Brock Tessman currently serves as the Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education for the 45,000 students, 8,000 employees, and 16 campuses that comprise the Montana University System (MUS). In this role, Tessman is responsible for driving success across the wide ranging sectors of Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Research & Economic Development. Since April 2020, Tessman has also coordinated Montana’s systemwide COVID-19 response and planning as chair of the Healthy MUS Task Force.

You can read NMU’s full biography of Tessman here.

The third candidate in the search is Meera Komarraju, Ph.D. Komarraju currently serves as the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC). The following biographic description of Komarraju is posted to NMU’s Presidential Search Website:

Meera Komarraju is a professor of Psychology and has been at SIUC for over 25 years. She has served the university in various administrative roles, as the Director of the Undergraduate Psychology Program and Department Chair, as Associate Dean for student and curricular affairs for the College of Liberal Arts and then as the College Dean. She was also the President of Faculty Senate. She just completed two terms as the Vice President for Membership for the American Psychological Association’s Division 2, Society for the Teaching of Psychology(six years in total).

You can read NMU’s full biography of Komarraju here.

You can find a full schedule of when to meet each candidate in the 9/14/2022 update below.


UPDATE 9/14/2022: Northern Michigan University has announced a series of four planned receptions for the community and public to meet the four final candidates for university president.

Each reception will take place in Ballroom IV in the Northern Center on NMU’s campus from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. The full schedule is as follows:

Thursday, Sept. 15: Candidate One

Monday, Sept. 19: Candidate Two

Tuesday, Sept. 20: Candidate Three

Wednesday, Sept. 21: Candidate Four

The name of each of the four candidates will be released the day before their visit to NMU begins.

The first candidate has been revealed to be Debra S. Larson, PhD., the provost and vice president of academic affairs at California State University, Chico. NMU has listed the following biographic description of Larson to their presidential search website:

Larson currently serves as the provost and vice president of academic affairs California State University, Chico. Chico State is a Hispanic Serving Institution and a comprehensive university of nearly 15,000 students with 714 FTE faculty. As a member of the twenty-three campus CSU system, Chico State is nationally ranked for students’ return on investment and social mobility, campus sustainability, international education, and undergraduate research. During her five plus years at Chico State, Larson has accomplished much, including: the successful reorganization of its research and sponsored program units, growth of on-line curricula and related enrollment, and a strengthened campus-wide focus on student success and on EDI. She recently served as a member of a small bargaining team for the CSU, who’s efforts culminated with a contract agreement with the 29,000-member faculty union.

You can read NMU’s full biography of Larson here.

NMU says a QR code will be available at the reception for all attendees to provide their thoughts on each candidate.

Local 3 will continue to update this story as the candidates are revealed.


ORIGINAL: A nationwide search has returned four candidates who will visit Northern Michigan University with the goal of being selected as the next University President.

The candidates will be on campus between September 15 and 22. They will each spend two days in various sessions with groups and individuals. They will also participate in public receptions.

“The Presidential Search Advisory Committee is very excited to have selected four excellent candidates for on-campus interviews. I want to thank the members of the committee for their hard work and perseverance,” said Chris Greer, chair of the presidential search committee and dean of students at NMU. “It is important for us to conduct an open search and to be transparent about the process. We hope that students, faculty, staff, and the community will take advantage of the opportunity to meet each candidate and provide feedback to the Board of Trustees.”

The names and bios of each candidate will be released the day prior to their visit. All information and schedules will be available at nmu.edu/presidentialsearch.

The full NMU Board of Trustees will interview candidates the week of September 26 with an announcement to follow.