Posted: August 14, 1998

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Signalling the need for continuing stability at Metropolitan State University, Morris J. Anderson, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, has appointed Dennis Nielsen interim president of Metro State for two years.

Nielsen, vice president of academic affairs at Winona State University, will replace Metro State president Susan Cole, who is leaving at the end of the month to take a position as president of Montclair State University in New Jersey.

"This appointment is a critical one, given the dynamics of our metro planning effort and the need for continued stability at Metro State,'' said Anderson. "I have decided that a long-term interim appointment best meets the needs of Metro State and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. I also believe that an interim president with a solid understanding of the Minnesota higher education scene and positive relationships with faculty and staff will help us make things happen."

Nielsen will not be a candidate for the permanent president of Metro State. Anderson said he will start a search for a new president about a year from now.

Nielsen has served at Winona State University in various capacities since 1970. He began as an assistant professor of geology and became chairman of the geology department in 1978. In 1985, he became dean of Winona State's College of Science and Engineering, serving in that capacity until 1995, when he became vice president for academic affairs.

Nielsen earned a bachelor of science degree in geology and education from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1964. He earned his master's degree from the University of North Dakota in 1969 and his PhD from the University of North Dakota in 1973.

Born in Minneapolis, Nielsen graduated from Washburn High School in 1960.

Chancellor Anderson said under Nielsen's leadership, Metro State will continue to serve traditional- and non-traditional age students in the east metro area who appreciate Metro's flexible and accommodating approach to academic programming.