(Highland Heights, Ky.) - Northern Kentucky University’s Board of Regents made the hiring of a new university president official Tuesday morning.
The board voted to hire Geoffrey Mearns as the university’s new president.
Mearns, 52, comes to the campus in Highland Heights by means of Cleveland State University where he was provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
"I am excited by the opportunities that lie before us," Mearns said in a statement. "Northern Kentucky University is valued internally and externally as an outstanding academic institution that is an integral part of its community. There is a great deal of pride from the faculty, staff, students, alumni and the region about how far the university has come and where it is going."
The university formed a presidential search and screening committee when it became known 14-year president James Votruba would be retiring in 2012.
"After a long and comprehensive national search, we feel we have found the best person in the nation to lead NKU," said Terry Mann, chair of the NKU Board of Regents. "The quality of our candidate pool and our finalists was indicative of this university's role on the national stage. Over the past 15 years, NKU has become the model of a major metropolitan university committed to academic excellence and regional stewardship. Still, our brightest days lie ahead of us, and Geoffrey Mearns is just the person to lead us there."
Votruba, who will retire July 31, welcomed Mearns.
"Geoff Mearns' values, professional experience and breadth of understanding of the role NKU plays in the lives of our students and our region make him ideally suited for this leadership role," Votruba said. "Under his leadership, I have no doubt that NKU will continue its momentum."
Prior to joining Cleveland State as the law school dean in 2005, Mearns worked over 15 years as a practicing lawyer. He worked as a federal prosecutor prior to starting a private practice in 1998.
He earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1981 and received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1987.
Mearns is not unfamiliar with the tri-state area. He attended Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati.
"NKU's location in a major metropolitan region is one of its greatest assets," he said. "This region has so much to offer prospective students and faculty from around the commonwealth and across the country. Great things are happening in the region, and our whole family looks forward to our move to northern Kentucky."
Mearns was interviewed during a visit to the NKU campus on April 9 and 10.