MAY 21, 2008


Regents name Dr. Don Betz NSU president

Photo of Dr. Don Betz.
Dr. Don Betz has been named the 16th president of Northeastern State University.

Dr. Don Betz, a veteran educator and administrator with 37 years of experience in higher education, has been named the 16th president of Northeastern State University by the Regional University System (RUSO) Board of Regents.

Since 2005, Dr. Betz has served as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His selection as chief executive officer at Northeastern brings him full circle to the institution where he began his higher education career in 1971 as assistant professor of political science.

“Following a thorough search process, we are confident that Dr. Don Betz is the right person to lead Northeastern State University,” said Belva Howard, RUSO chair. “His extensive experience in higher education, along with his commitment to teaching and learning, will provide skilled leadership and direction for NSU. Dr. Betz brings to the position energy, enthusiasm, and vision for the future, which is an excellent combination to guide Northeastern into its second century.

Regent Howard also acknowledged the work of various constituencies in the presidential selection process. “On behalf of the Regents, I would like to thank the Presidential Search Committee, including faculty and community members, for their valuable assistance. I would also like to offer special thanks to Kim Cherry for doing an excellent job as interim president.”

Betz said he was honored to be named president of NSU and looks forward to returning to Tahlequah.

“As NSU approaches its centennial, it is a unique moment in the history of this historic and distinguished institution,” Betz said. “It is the right time to gather together and to build the institution’s capacities to help Oklahomans realize their dreams and to stimulate the vitality of Oklahoma in this global century.”

“I vividly recall my first day at Northeastern in 1971 as a brand-new assistant professor of political science,” he continued. “I am truly grateful for all the opportunities NSU offered me during my first 23 years as a proud member of the faculty and administration, and look forward to serving the campus, community, region and state for years to come.”

Dr. Betz’s experience in Oklahoma higher education spans more than three decades. From 1971 to 1994, he served Northeastern in various capacities, including vice president for university relations, dean of continuing studies, director of the Sequoyah Institute, executive director of the Educational Foundation, and professor of political science. For five years he held the positions of provost and vice president for academic affairs at Palmer College of Chiropractic and chief academic officer for the Palmer Chiropractic University System. In 1999, he took the post of vice president for academic affairs and professor of political science at the University of Central Oklahoma, and was serving as provost and vice president for academic affairs when he accepted the position at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

In 1982, he began his association with the United Nations as a consultant, and subsequently liaison officer, at the International Conference on the Question of Palestine. Two years later, he served as political affairs and liaison officer, at the UN conference on the division for Palestinian rights.

Dr. Betz earned his Ph.D. degree in international studies at the University of Denver in May 1973, where he also graduated with a master of arts degree in 1969. He holds a bachelor of arts degree  in political science and philosophy from the University of San Francisco. In addition, he has completed NDFL Summer Programs in Arabic language and culture at the University of California and New York University.

During his career, Dr. Betz has been the recipient of numerous awards and author of articles and papers on the topics of international affairs, higher education, and leadership. He has also presented extensively as a guest speaker and from 1984 to 2003. His work can be found as final declarations, statements, and communiqué throughout United Nations documents.

In returning to Northeastern, Dr. Betz rejoins the Regional University System of Oklahoma, whose board also governs UCO, East Central University, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Southwestern Oklahoma State University.