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NKU Board Chair: Mearns to stay through Spring Commencement, Desmarais heads search committee

NKyTribune staff

Northern Kentucky University Board of Regents Chair Rich Boehne provided an update Tuesday on the process to replace President Goeffrey S. Mearns.


Much of the information, including the timeline for selection of a new president was included in a previously published NKyTribune story which can be found here  .

Mearns accepted the position of President of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana on January 24. Boehne revealed that Mearns will continue to serve as the president through Spring Commencement on May 7. Prior to that date, NKU will name an interim president who will step in until the new president is named.

NKU has already issued Requests for Proposal for a Presidential and Executive Search Consultant to assist in the selection process.

Boehne announced today that Regent Norm Desmarais has agreed to chair the search committee.

“Norm’s professional experience and personal commitment to NKU make him a terrific choice. Norm is the chairman and founding partner of the Covington-based tech firm Tier1 Performance Solutions.” Boehne said in a statement to the campus community.

This bio for Desmarais appears on the NKU Board of Regents website:

Norm Desmarais serves as Chairman of TiER1 Performance Solutions and CEO of Xcelerated Learning Dynamics. Since 1989, Norm has founded several high tech companies serving industries including Fortune 500, Government, Department of Defense, and Healthcare.  Prior to starting companies, Norm worked in the aerospace industry for General Electric and Raytheon.

TiER1 Performance Solutions has been recognized for ten straight years on Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing private companies in the US and received 2007 and 2008 US Chamber of Commerce Blue Ribbon Award.  Norm was the 2007 SBA Kentucky Small Business Person of the Year.

Norm currently serves on the Northern Kentucky University Board of Regents, Gateway Community and Technical College Foundation Board and the State of Kentucky’s Commission for Small Business Advocacy.

Norm holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Fitchburg State College and a MBA from Western New England College.


Boehne said in the statement that Desmarais will guide the search process, but he won’t be working alone.

“He will be in touch soon with faculty, staff, students, and members of our community as we build out the search committee,” Boehne said. “This is important work, and also time consuming. I hope those of you asked to participate will be willing and eager to help select the next president of our outstanding university.”

Boehne also calls on the NKU community to provide input as it drafts the job description for the next president.

“You’ll soon see an extensive schedule of open forums on and off campus to gather feedback from the entire NKU community,” Boehne said. “We also have the results from the recent presidential assessment, which will be helpful as we craft the profile. This period of information gathering is one of the most critical phases of the search.”

Boehne acknowledged that transitions can be stressful, but also provide an opportunity to “recalibrate and consider what traits and experiences are most critical for our next president.”

The target schedule outlined in the RFP calls for naming a search firm in early March; information-gathering in the late March and early April months; targeting and interviewing candidates over the summer; and concluding the process early in the fall semester.

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