Lori Stewart Gonzalez has been selected to be Ohio University’s 23rd president

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — The current provost at the University of Louisville is set to become the next president at Ohio University.

Lori Stewart Gonzalez poses for a portrait sitting at a desk with her arms folded over on another
Lori Stewart Gonzalez [University of Louisville]
Ohio University’s Board of Trustees selected Lori Stewart Gonzalez to be the school’s 23rd president after a special meeting on the Athens campus Wednesday.

“It is an inflection point…in higher ed these days and we need to make sure that we have exactly the right leader,” Peggy Viehweger, chair of the Ohio University Board of Trustees said. “And that’s what we think we have after this process.”

Gonzalez will officially get to work on July 1, according to Ohio University. She takes over for President Hugh Sherman, who was appointed to a two-year term after the university’s 21st president, Duane Nellis, transitioned to a faculty role in May 2021.

She met with the media after Wednesday’s announcement and went over her priorities at Ohio University. Financial stability and building on the school’s recent Carnegie R1 Classification as a “top tier research institution.”

But at the top of her list was student success.

“We want to make sure our students come in here, they have a transformational experience and they can get out in four years,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez will be the first woman to serve as Ohio University’s president.

“It’s very humbling, for sure. I’ve had a lot of women who supported me over the years and I try to pay it forward with a lot of young women and mentor them,” she said. “I’m really proud of that first but I want us to really focus on the first for all our students. We want to make sure if they’re the first in their family to go college, that they get out and change their family forever. So, I’ll wear the mantle of being the first female with pride, but I won’t dwell on it very much.”

Gonzalez began her academic career at at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1988 before returning to her alma matter, the University of Kentucky, in 1991.

She was appointed UK’s third Dean of the College of Health Sciences in 2005.

Gonzalez went on to become the provost at Appalachian State University in 2011 for three years and became a special advisor to the senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina General Administration, the North Carolina public higher education authority during the 2015 academic year.

She served as the vice chancellor for academic, faculty and student affairs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee from 2015 until the spring of 2021.

Gonzalez was named the provost at the University of Louisville in April 2021 and served as the school’s interim president from December 2021 until last month.

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky in speech-pathology and audiology. She received a Master of Arts degree in communication disorders from Eastern Kentucky University and a Ph.D. in communication disorders from the University of Florida.