BATON ROUGE —Dr. Chris Maggio was appointed as president of Northwestern State University Thursday by the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System. The appointment is effective May 12.
Maggio was selected as the university’s 19th president in a unanimous vote of the board following a four-month national search. He has served as acting president since Jan. 1. He succeeded Dr. Jim Henderson, who became president of the University of Louisiana System, which governs NSU and eight other universities.
“The cornerstone of my presidency will be the passion and fervor that I bring to the office. There will not be a minute’s pause in the momentum and success our university has experienced,” said Maggio. “I appreciate the confidence the Board of Supervisors has placed in me. It is an honor to take the role as president full time and I look forward to collaborating with students, faculty and staff to ensure the university continues on its positive trajectory.”
Maggio was named vice president for the student experience at Northwestern State in September after serving as interim vice president for just over a year. He maintained his role as vice president for the student experience while serving as acting president.
“Chris is passionate about the university and with his experience and knowledge I am confident he will be a positive leader for the entire community,” said UL System President and CEO Dr. Jim Henderson.
Over the past four months, Northwestern State worked with Northwest Louisiana Technical College and Central Louisiana Technical Community College to develop a work-based learning program that will allow individuals to earn an associate of science degree in engineering technology while they are employed with a sponsoring manufacturer.
The university signed 2+2 agreements with Bossier Parish Community College, Louisiana State University-Eunice and South Louisiana Community College, making it easier for traditional and non-traditional students to transfer credit hours to NSU.
Earlier this year, online programs in paralegal studies, radiologic sciences and criminal justice were ranked among the top 10 in the nation for quality and affordability.
The university worked to provide additional campus housing with the groundbreaking of a $10 million rehabilitation project for Varnado Hall which will be transformed into a 21st century living/learning residential college for students in the School of Creative and Performing Arts and is expected to be open for the fall semester. The university has also worked with developers who are developing new student housing adjacent to the Natchitoches campus.
Northwestern State’s nursing program continued to expand by offering clinicals in Natchitoches and offering clinical classes in DeRidder.
The university has a new driving range in the works and irrigation improvement underway at the Robert Wilson Recreation Complex, clean up initiatives and seawall repair on Chaplin’s Lake and improvements at the Jack Fisher Tennis Complex. There have also been upgrades in Kyser Hall and in facilities at the Health and Human Performance Building.
“Dr. Maggio has dedicated the last 29 years to building strong relationships with our students, faculty, alumni, legislators and other key stakeholders,” said Scott Andrews, vice-president of the NSU Foundation Board of Directors, who was a member of the Board of Supervisors Presidential Search Committee. “There is no one better equipped to successfully lead NSU through the current challenges facing all institutions of higher education in Louisiana.”
Maggio has been a fixture at campus activities and events, ball games and performing arts programs, interacting with students, faculty and staff while advocating for NSU on higher education issues at the state level.
He has long been a supporter of the nation’s military and earlier this year initiated a program to honor veterans at all home basketball games.
Maggio has been actively engaged in recruiting, traveling to schools and events all over the state, and his approachability resonates with current and prospective students.
“Outstanding is one of the first words you think of when you think of Dr. Maggio as the president of Northwestern,” said NSU Alumni Association President Monty Chicola. “But there were so many other words that instantly jump into your mind. Seasoned, tested, proven, worthy, leader, purple blooded, students first, knowledgeable and ready. He will be to Northwestern as president as the beloved mayors have been to the City of Natchitoches. The university and the city will keep getting better.”
Northwestern State has recorded enrollment increases for the past two years. Enrollment for the Fall 2016 semester was 9,819 students, a seven percent increase over the previous fall, the highest growth rate of any University of Louisiana System institution. Spring enrollment was 9,191 students, an increase of 6.1 percent over the spring 2016 semester.
“Dr. Maggio will make a great president because he’s got the legislative connections, experience and love for this university that will drive Northwestern State forward,” said Student Government Association President John Pearce of Livonia. “He will maintain traditions while also bringing in new ideas.”
As vice president, Maggio led the Dean of Students and the Offices of Admissions, Recruiting, Financial Aid, Student Activities and Organizations, First Year Experience and Leadership Development, Judicial Services, Counseling and Career Services, Student Life, the Student Activities Board, Student Government Association and Greek Life.
Maggio served as assistant vice president of external affairs for university advancement from 2013 until 2015. He has been a staff member at Northwestern State since 1988. He was named Dean of Students and assistant provost for student success in 2007. Maggio was selected as director of alumni affairs in 1999, director of alumni and development in 2003 and executive director of the NSU Foundation in 2005.
Under Maggio’s leadership, the NSU Foundation completed its first capital campaign in Northwestern’s history, exceeding a campaign goal of $18.84 million and raising $31 million to support the university. He has also been a faculty member in the Department of Health and Human Performance for more than 20 years as an instructor, assistant professor and associate professor.
During his career at NSU, Maggio also served as director of admissions and recruiting and director of enrollment services. He joined the staff at Northwestern State as women’s track and field coach.
Maggio is a 1985 summa cum laude graduate of Northwestern State. As a senior, he was elected Mr. NSU by his fellow students. Maggio earned his master’s of education at NSU. He received a doctorate in developmental education from Grambling State University.