The university will welcome Dr. Wacker during a presentation and reception from 9-10:30 a.m. May 17 in the Atwood Memorial Center, Cascade Room.
Wacker is an experienced administrator and a tenured professor with a reputation for leadership of strategic initiatives, encouraging innovation, and advancing student enrollment, retention, and success.
“Robbyn Wacker has had an impressive career in higher education as a faculty member and university executive,” said Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra. “She is a strategic thinker, a visionary leader, and an organizational innovator who understands both the challenges and the opportunities for a public, regional, comprehensive university like St. Cloud State University. She is a pragmatist and yet she has never lost the desire to dream big, which is something the university has always aspired to do.”
She has served the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) since 1990 in several capacities. From 2011 to 2017, she served UNC as provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, where she worked to ensure the academic excellence of the institution and was responsible for developing and implementing a clear academic vision, aligning academic policies and priorities, and managing a $173 million budget.
She currently serves as senior campaign advisor in the UNC Office of Development and Alumni Relations. In this role, she provides strategic support for a $45 million campaign — the largest fundraising initiative in the University’s history.
Wacker holds a doctorate in sociology from Iowa State University, and a master’s and a bachelor’s degree in gerontology from the University of Northern Colorado. She was selected by the Harvard Graduate School of Education to attend its Management Development Program for leaders in higher education, and she has completed the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Executive Leadership Academy.
Wacker will succeed Ashish Vaidya, who, since 2016, has served as interim president of St. Cloud State University following the unexpected death of Earl H. Potter III, who had served as president of the university since 2007.
Vaidya came to St. Cloud State in July 2015 as provost. He served a year in the role before stepping into the interim presidency. He is finishing his second year as interim presidency this June before becoming president of Northern Kentucky University.
During his presidency Vaidya worked to improve fundraising efforts and worked with the legislative delegation to secure $18 million for the Eastman Hall project while also developing relationships with the city and community. He served on the Central Minnesota Initiative Foundation and the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation boards.