William Rugg, Montana State University-Northern's new provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs, was officially welcomed to the university Tuesday at a reception.
"Today is an important new chapter for the university," Chancellor James Limbaugh said.
Rugg drove the 30-hour trek from Tahlequah, Okla., over the weekend with his wife and cats and said he is still moving into their new home on 18th Street.
"If you walk the nature trail, we're watching you from our window," Rugg joked.
"We're delighted to be here," Rugg said.
Rugg told the crowd at the reception that he had interviews with other universities, but Northern was ideal for him in many ways, especially the size.
"The size of this university is very attractive to me," Rugg said. He added that his former campus of Northeastern State University in Oklahoma was deemed a small college of 10,000 students, but did not fit his definition of small.
"All the people I've talked to have been warm and friendly," Rugg said.
Rugg said he sees great potential in the university and plans on utilizing it.
"I'm here for the long haul," Rugg said. "We are really committed to being here."
Rugg said some of the first things he is going to look at is the amount of financial support given to the university by the state.
"The amount of support from the state keeps going down," Rugg said. "It's a concern, but not a disaster."
Rugg said to combat this, universities might raise tuition, but that will not be happening at Northern.
Instead, Rugg said efficiency with class sizes needs to be a more important issue. Classes with three students in them need to be consolidated into other sections or taken out, Rugg said.
Another way to raise funds is through alumni support and grants, he added.
"There's money out there, we just need to ask for it," Rugg said.
He said the second thing he thinks is important is retention of students. This will be achieved by developing programs with high demands to attract more students and to keep the ones already enrolled coming back. Programs such as diesel and a Native American program will be great assets in attracting and retaining students.
"The main goal is to provide the best possible learning environment for the students," Rugg said.