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NKU’s Board of Regents Renew President Ashish Vaidya’s Contract


Oct. 7, 2021 — Northern Kentucky University announces the renewal of President Ashish Vaidya’s contract, extending his leadership through 2027. The Board of Regents unanimously approved the new contract at a special meeting on Oct. 7, extending his service from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2026. With a one year extension included in the proposed contract, the Board secured President Vaidya’s leadership through June 30, 2027. 

“Considering all his accomplishments for the university, the Board is very pleased to retain President Vaidya, continuing his strong and unwavering leadership for NKU,” said Board Chair Andrá R. Ward. “President Vaidya has demonstrated this leadership countless times throughout his tenure as our sixth president– from securing many public-private partnerships that increase access to higher education to prioritizing the mental health of our campus community throughout the pandemic. Renewing his contract now will ensure NKU’s momentum will not slow down as we approached the end of his first contract next June.”

President Vaidya began his four-year contract on July 1, 2018 as the university was embroiled in a pension dilemma and as the Fuel the Flame strategic plan was coming to a close. In collaboration with internal and external partners, President Vaidya resolved NKU’s pension crisis in a manner that not only kept the pension for long-term employees but also will save the university over $73 million in cessation costs which will translate to annual savings on the bond payments of approximately $4 million. His active presence in Frankfort also resulted in increases for NKU in the Commonwealth’s Performance Funding Model.

Another early initiative in his presidency was building a new plan for NKU’s future growth. President Vaidya created a strategic framework process to include both campus and community voices in the discussion on NKU’s future. The Success by Design strategic framework was released in April 2019 and focuses on aligning student success with the needs of the region. One month later, the university launched its Further, Faster Capital Campaign to provide a sustainable source of funding to accomplish these student success goals.

“In my time leading NKU, I am proud of our collective accomplishments,” said President Vaidya. “The one that stands out is bringing diverse voices together to create the Success by Design framework for NKU’s future. It builds on the university’s legacy of being a steward of place and highlights NKU’s agility in activating its campus community to support the needs of the region. I am looking forward to seeing our work evolve to continue to meet the needs of our students.”

Success by Design also unveiled a new vision of NKU becoming nationally recognized for being a student-ready, regionally engaged university that empowers diverse learners for economic and social mobility. In his time leading NKU, President Vaidya has raised NKU’s profile with his work as chair of the Horizon League Board of Director, on the American Association for State Colleges and Universities’ Board of Directors, on the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Cincinnati Branch Board of Directors and as part of EAB’s Moonshot for Equity. President Vaidya is considered a thought leader in higher education, with his insights featured in national news stories and in prominent industry outlets. 

President Vaidya also focused on enhancing NKU’s commitment to equity, inclusion and diversity. He created the Chief Diversity Officer position and established the Chief Strategy Officer. These Cabinet-level positions support NKU’s core values and goals. The President and First Partner Dr. Nita Vaidya recently established the Ashish and Nita Vaidya Fund for Mental Health and Student Engagement. They dedicated funds for two essential services that support our students as they journey to complete their academic goals.

“Nita and I consider Northern Kentucky home, and we are incredibly happy to continue to lay down roots here. We are excited to see what the future brings for university and region and are proud to do our part to invest in NKU’s future,” said President Vaidya.

The proposed contract will extend his service from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2026, with a one year automatic extension to June 30, 2027. Final terms and further details will be determined in the new contract.

President Vaidya 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 joined NKU from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota where he served as Interim President. To learn more about President Vaidya, visit NKU’s Office of the President’s webpage.

The Board of Regents also elected new officers for the 2021-22 academic year. Andra' Ward is chair, Normand Desmarais is vice chair and Gregory Shumate is secretary.

About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit