The new provost of Montana State University-Northern, William Rugg, is set to start work Feb. 17.
“I’m delighted they selected me,” Rugg said. “I was very impressed with what I saw and heard. I’m looking forward on getting up there and getting started. It’s going to be challenging and interesting at the same time.”
“I’m very excited to have someone with the caliber of Mr. Rugg,” said MSU-N Chancellor James Limbaugh.
Rugg said one of the things that attracted him to Northern was the size of the university.
“I prefer the smaller size so I can get to know the staff, faculty and students,” Rugg said.
He added he has enjoyed the last few jobs he has held, the most recent being provost for Northeastern State University, but the size of the institutions were not as desirable as Northern’s.
The second reason he is looking forward to the move to Havre is the climate, he said. He and his wife have troubles with allergies in Tahlequah, Okla., where NSU is located. He said he and his wife will appreciate Montana for alleviating some of these maladies.
“We like the wide-open, clean air of Montana,” Rugg said. “We won’t have those allergy issues up there.”
Rugg said he is not nervous about the winters Havre has because he was born and raised in Rochester, N.Y., and is no stranger to the cold.
“When I was up there for the interview, I didn’t feel the cold that much,” Rugg said. “We expected to have four distinct seasons and that was part of the attraction.”
The reason he left his previous position as provost for NSU is because he disagreed with some of the cuts administration was making with budgets and faculty. He said this went against his goals of helping students and faculty and convinced him to look for work elsewhere.
Rugg said he was anxious to begin his work as soon a possible.
“I’ve been talking with the chancellor,” he said. “I’m willing to start working from home right now instead of just walking into a stack of papers.”
He said he believes a rewarding and educational experience is owed to the students of Northern, and he plans to try and give them just that as he works on retention rates.
“I’m looking forward to working with the chancellor — to becoming part of his team,” he added.
Rugg said he is currently looking for a new home in Havre, where he, his wife and their two cats will reside as he takes on the new position at Northern. He said he will try to attend the We Love Northern Ball.
“I’m looking forward to becoming part of the community,” Rugg said. “It looks like a nice place with nice people.”
Limbaugh said he chose Rugg out of the five candidates left in the search for a provost based on evaluations and recommendations.
“The search committee gave me a list — unranked — with their evaluation with both the positive benefits and the concerns about each candidate,” Limbaugh said. He added he took into account the recommendations of the campus community and those involved in the interviewing process of each candidate.
“I made a decision based on what I felt the university needed in administration at this point,” Limbaugh said.
When Rugg begins work at MSU-N, the chancellor said they will continue to “work with program attractiveness and strengths.”
“The academic programs are fundamental to the university’s success,” Limbaugh said. Students come here for the right mix (of programs, classes). … There’s some important work to do to see if we have the right mix for this institution.”