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RUSO Names Dr. Rodney Hanley Next President of Northeastern State University

The Regional University System of Oklahoma Regents have named Dr. Rodney Hanley as the 20th president of Northeastern State University. Hanley will assume the presidency beginning August 1, 2023. A national search was conducted to fill the role after current president Steve Turner, who has served in the position for over a decade, announced his retirement earlier this year.

Hanley was most recently President of Lake Superior State University, a rural public university in Michigan, and brings over 35 years of leadership experience in higher education with him to Northeastern State University. His other past roles in higher education leadership include Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Fisk University and professor of Earth System Science and Policy at the University of North Dakota. Hanley has extensive experience in strategic planning, student, faculty, community and tribal relations, financial and enrollment management and fundraising.

“President Hanley is a collaborative leader who has worked closely not only with faculty and administrators but also with local and regional community leaders to create new opportunities for students. He understands and values the sovereignty of tribes and the opportunities for shared prosperity. He is the right choice to lead NSU into the future,” said RUSO Regent Chris Van Denhende, chair of the search committee. “We know Dr. Hanley will draw upon his academic expertise in sustainability and biology to find innovative ways to ensure Northeastern continues to provide Oklahomans with the degrees needed to enrich Oklahoma’s future.”

Hanley received a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Kansas, master’s from the University of Cambridge, Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees from Eastern Illinois University and a certificate in Leadership in Education from Harvard University. Hanley will be joined in Tahlequah by his wife, Sara, and their sons, Harry and Edward.

“I’d like to thank RUSO’s Board of Regents for the opportunity to steward Northeastern into its next chapter,” said Hanley. “As the fourth largest university in the state, NSU graduates are vital to Oklahoma’s success. I am proud to accept the appointment, and I look forward to joining the NSU family and working with our faculty and staff to continue to serve our students.”

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Founded in 1909 on the rich educational heritage of the Cherokee Nation, Northeastern State University is the fourth-largest public and oldest institution of higher education in Oklahoma. For more information on NSU, visit


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