President Vaidya Takes Oath to Serve as NKU’s Sixth Leader

Investiture of President Ashish Vaidya
The Honorable Michelle M. Keller, Kentucky Supreme Court Justice, administered the oath of office.

View NKU Photographer David Bushle's photo gallery by clicking here


March 29, 2019— Northern Kentucky University President Dr. Ashish Vaidya took the oath to serve as NKU’s sixth president on March 29. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members gathered in BB&T Arena for the Installation Ceremony, which centered on the theme of Empowering the Future.

“I’m humbled by the opportunity to lead this great institution and honored to take the oath as NKU’s sixth president. Together, we have a tremendous opportunity to redefine and reclaim the narrative about about the significance of a 21st century public institution and the value of an NKU education,” said President Vaidya.  “Our campus is home to diverse learners, and we must meet their needs—no matter what age or stage they are at in their life. It is my belief that if we accept a student at this university, we have the moral obligation to ensure they receive every opportunity to meet their educational goals.”

President Vaidya’s longtime friend and mentor, Dr. Richard R. Rush, gave the keynote address. Dr. Rush, president emeritus of California State University, Channel Islands, said, “I’m honored to participate in Ashish’s installation. Having known him for a long time, I’m certain that he will be an outstanding president for Northern Kentucky University.”

President Vaidya's family Investiture

Other personal moments highlighted the ceremony, as President Vaidya’s daughter, Jaanhvi, and nieces, Alina Shah and Ruchira Shah, sang “In My Life,” a song by the Beatles.

The ceremony then transitioned into the formal installation into office. NKU Board of Regents’ Chair Lee Scheben and Vice Chair Andrá Ward presented the president’s medallion to President Vaidya, and the Honorable Michelle M. Keller, Kentucky Supreme Court Justice and Chase College of Law alumna, administered the oath of office. 

Student Government Association President Hannah Edelen closed out the ceremony congratulating the president on the historic day for NKU. Sen. Mitch McConnell also shared a message for the president.

“This is a special day not only for this university, but also for our entire Commonwealth,” said Sen. McConnell. “Over the last few months, I’ve had multiple occasions to meet with President Vaidya and to hear about his vision for NKU. Each time we’ve spoken, I’ve been impressed by his passion and his enthusiasm to get to work for the Norse community. Along with its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends, I look forward to seeing what you have in store for this great university.”

President Vaidya began his tenure as NKU’s sixth leader on July 1, 2018. He selected a spring Investiture Ceremony to allow time to understand the campus culture and the region. 

President Vaidya came to NKU from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, where he served as interim president. He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from St. Xavier’s College (Mumbai, India), and a master’s and a doctorate from University of California, Davis. He is married to Nita Vaidya, a sociologist. They have two children, Jaanhvi and Avaneesh. For more on why President Vaidya selected NKU, read his NKU Magazine profile. Click here to learn more about NKU’s previous presidents.

About NKU:  Founded in 1968, we are a metropolitan university of more than 14,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit