Interim Provost Matt Cecil Named Provost, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Northern Kentucky University

February 03, 2021 | News Story

Mankato, Minn. – Matt Cecil, Minnesota State University, Mankato’s interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, has been named provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Northern Kentucky University, located in Highland Heights, Kentucky, effective July 1.

Cecil (pictured) served as dean of Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Arts and Humanities from July 1, 2016 until January 2020, when he was appointed to his current interim position at the University.

President Richard Davenport congratulated Cecil on his new position, saying he was appreciative of Cecil’s leadership during his five years at Minnesota State Mankato.

In particular, Davenport said, Cecil’s leadership during the pandemic has been outstanding.

“Provost Cecil has provided steady, engaged and visionary leadership during this crisis,” said Davenport. “He has worked with administrators, faculty, staff and students to adapt our physical campus, our policies and procedures, and our approach to academic planning to match the moment. He has played a key leadership role in our efforts to maintain communication with our campus community during the crisis. I appreciate Dr. Cecil’s steadfast focus on student success throughout all of this, which will pay off for our campus for many years going forward.”

Cecil was named Minnesota State Mankato’s interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs after Marilyn J. Wells left the position in January 2020 to become chancellor at Penn State Brandywine.

Cecil is a Brookings, S.D., native and graduate of South Dakota State University. He earned a master’s degree in history from Minnesota State Mankato in 1997 and a doctorate in mass communication from the University of Iowa in 2000.

He served as a faculty member at Purdue University, the University of Oklahoma and South Dakota State University. In addition, he has served more than 10 years in administrative positions at SDSU, Wichita State University and Minnesota State Mankato.

Cecil is a leading scholar of FBI history, authoring three books and more than two dozen articles in the field. His 2014 book, “Hoover’s FBI and the Fourth Estate,” was named History Book of the Year by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Prior to his academic career, Cecil worked as a political journalist, press secretary and media relations specialist.

Davenport, who announced in August that he will retire as Minnesota State Mankato’s president on June 30, said he would work with the new president, once that person has been selected, to assist in the appointment of an interim provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 14,604 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which includes 30 colleges and seven universities.

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