Gibson to lead UWSP
New chancellor begins on Jan. 11
By Kris Leonhardt
Dr. Thomas Gibson will begin in his role as the 15th chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Jan. 11.
Gibson has served in higher education leadership roles at Ball State University, Muncie, IN; York College, NYC; City University of New York, NYC; and Bowling Green State, Bowling Green, OH.
He said that while he had been contacted by other institutions over the years, UWSP appealed to him as it was a good fit with his leadership standards.
“I have received nominations and outreach from several search consultants for a number of institutional leadership positions over the years. However, the possibility of serving UW-Stevens Point as chancellor was most intriguing, and the opportunity most aligned with my values as a mission-driven leader,” Gibson said.
“As a mission-driven leader, the values and mission of the University resonated with me. Furthermore, UW-Stevens Point enjoys a great national and regional reputation. The faculty and staff are engaged teachers and scholars and are committed to supporting student success. And the University of Wisconsin is one of the best higher education systems in the country. This is the type of environment where I would thrive in helping more students succeed.”
Gibson said that he found the UWSP interview very inclusive, given the opportunity to meet with both university and community stakeholders.
“I was pleased to meet so many people who care deeply about the success of UW-Stevens Point and its students,” he stated.
During his visit, Gibson was only able to visit the Stevens Point and Wausau campuses, but says he looks forward to visiting the Marshfield campus in January.
“Like the main campus, the Wausau branch provides a welcoming and supportive environment for each and all students. It’s a gem,” he added.
“I was surprised to learn of such an engaged campus community. UW-Stevens Point enjoys a rich history of shared governance and collaboration in support of institutional success. Students communicated a proud affinity and feelings of being at home at UWSP. There’s also a strong commitment to inclusive excellence at UWSP. I am grateful to be joining this community.”
As Gibson begins his new position in January, he views the uncertainties of COVID-19 as his greatest challenge.
“There is no playbook for the situation we and other institutions across the country are in. The pandemic threatens the safety and wellbeing of members of our educational community, which my new colleagues are working to minimize. It also has enrollment and resource implications. However, together as a campus community, we will address these issues and thrive on the other side of this pandemic. I am encouraged,” Gibson said.
Gibson comes to UWSP from Bowling Green State, where he has served as vice president for student affairs and vice provost since July 2016.
In his position at Bowling Green, Gibson oversaw the operations of the Center for Health, working with the campus Counseling Center, Accessibility Services, Falcon Health, Student Insurance Office; Recreation and Wellness; Residence Life; Center for Women and Gender Equity; Violence Prevention Center; Title IX compliance; Clery Reporting; Student Legal Services; Fraternity/Sorority Life; and Diversity and Inclusion Programs, such as: Office of Multicultural Affairs, TRIO Programs, Project Search, and LGBTQ+ programs.
“I am personally and professionally committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and fostering a fair and unbiased learning community. My work to make campuses more inclusive has demonstrated this commitment over the years. Together with the UWSP and Stevens Point community, I will work tirelessly toward achieving inclusive excellence,” Gibson stated.
But ultimately, Gibson said it was a family decision to pursue and accept the position to serve as chancellor, and credits his wife, Brigette, and daughter, Kennedy, for their support.
“We are looking forward to joining the UWSP and Stevens Point community and putting down roots,” he added.