California State University, Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani will leave Turlock's university to become chancellor of the North Dakota University system.
The North Dakota Board of Higher Education voted 5-3 Tuesday to offer Shirvani the post.
“I have been offered and accepted it,” Shirvani said. “It is a great position; I am honored to be given this opportunity and very much looking forward to coming to North Dakota.”
Shirvani was selected from a field of 21 candidates to replace retiring NDUS Chancellor William Goetz, following a three-month search process. He ultimately bested Nebraska education administrator Marshall Hill, who was supported by the three dissenting board members.
Shirvani commended North Dakota for its higher education system, comprised of six universities, five colleges, and numerous community colleges, and lauded the state as “great” and “prosperous.” The 48,000 student system has an operating budget of nearly $1.2 billion, per the NDUS.
But Shirvani said he still has a lot of learning to do, as he works to shepherd the system to its next phase of development. He said he will travel to North Dakota to study the system in further detail, talk with system campuses, the legislature, governor, and business community, and will develop a plan for the future of the system.
Shirvani led CSU Stanislaus for the past seven years – a period marked by successes and challenges alike.
Sharp state budget cuts and in-fighting with faculty – 82 percent of whom, in 2009, passed a vote of no confidence in his leadership – balanced out with newfound academic recognition for CSU Stanislaus.
“My primary goal was to raise the stature of the university and I think that has been accomplished,” Shirvani said.
CSU Stanislaus now plays host to its largest enrollment ever, and is consistently recognized by The Princeton Review as among the nation's best colleges. Shirvani said the university is now academically strong, financially stable, and has cultivated excellent relationships with local businesses and the community.
Shirvani spoke to CSU Chancellor Charles Reed Tuesday afternoon, informing Reed of his pending departure, per CSU Assistant Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs Claudia Keith. Reed wished Shirvani well, Keith said.
Keith said a succession plan would be worked out in the near future, but no plans regarding a search for a new CSU Stanislaus president or an interim appointment had yet been made. The CSU system expects Shirvani to leave by July 1.
Regardless of when that final departure date may be, Shirvani said he is proud of what he accomplished during his tenure, he said.
“I'm glad that I can tell you I'm leaving the institution in a much more prosperous condition than when I came in,” Shirvani said.