Charles Nies confirmed as 10th Chancellor of UMD

New leader for University of Minnesota Duluth campus to begin this summer.

Charles Nies, Ph.D., has been confirmed as the 10th chancellor of the University of Minnesota Duluth. Nies’ appointment was approved by the University’s Board of Regents on May 9 and is effective July 1, 2024.

An image of Charles Nies.

“I’m honored to be a part of this remarkable institution and to work alongside the amazing people who are advancing the mission of teaching, research, and outreach. It’s inspiring,” Nies said. “I'm grateful to the Board and Interim President Jeff Ettinger for appointing me to this incredible opportunity, and for the campus community for being so welcoming. I look forward to working together to advance the great work of UMD.”

Nies comes to UMD with over 25 years of experience in higher education, serving most recently as the vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of California, Merced. One of 10 campuses in the University of California system, UC Merced was formed in 2005 and became the youngest university in the nation to earn the Carnegie R2 designation — the second-highest classification for American research universities. Nies joined UC Merced in 2006 as its first associate vice chancellor and dean of students, a role in which he oversaw the development and growth of student life programs on campus.

Prior to his work at UC Merced, he served as an assistant dean of an interdisciplinary school at Miami University in Ohio and a program director for a minor in leadership studies at Washington State University. As an instructor, he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership theory, organizational theory and student development.

Nies holds two degrees from Washington State University — a doctorate in education administration and leadership and a master’s in counseling psychology. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He grew up in Hutchinson, Minnesota.

Nies succeeds Interim Chancellor David McMillan, who will remain in the role through June, and Chancellor Lendley Black, who retired in the summer of 2022.

“Dr. Nies brings a wealth of experience and an energy that will be an asset to UMD and our community,” Interim Chancellor McMillan said. “I’m thrilled that he’s bringing his talents to Duluth, and look forward to supporting him and this campus in a smooth and productive transition as we embark on this new chapter for this institution.”

Three Chancellors standing discussing in a room with UMD pennants in front of a window overlooking the UMD campus.
Interim Chancellor Dave McMillan (right), Chancellor Emeritus Lendley Black (left), and Chancellor-Designate Charles Nies (center), gathered in the Darland Administration Building in May prior to Nies' starting at UMD to discuss institutional priorities and share knowledge about the campus.