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Meet Dr. Nellis

On May 13, 2021, Ohio University President, Dr. M. Duane Nellis announced his plans to end his tenure as President on June 30, 2021, and transition to faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences. Read more about President Nellis’ impact on Ohio University and leadership transition plan in the announcement to the OHIO community. On May 27, 2021, the Ohio University Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Hugh Sherman as 22nd President of Ohio University for a two-year term effective June 14, 2021. Dr. Nellis will remain in a co-leadership role with Dr. Hugh Sherman until June 30, 2021, per his contract agreement.

Dr. M. Duane Nellis was named the 21st president of Ohio University on February 22, 2017 and was formally inaugurated on October 18, 2017. As an internationally recognized scholar and national higher education leader, Dr. Nellis brings nearly four decades of experience in academia as a president, provost, dean and professor to Ohio University. He has led the institution toward strategic pathways that elevate academic quality and engagement, diversity and inclusion, and global engagement while gaining national visibility in innovation.

Prior to arriving at OHIO, Dr. Nellis was president of Texas Tech University. While at Texas Tech, Dr. Nellis was committed to enhancing the University’s presence as a top tier national public research university. He led Texas Tech to designation as a Carnegie highest research activity national research university. The institution was also designated nationally as an Innovative and Economic Prosperity University and received special recognition for university engagement during Nellis’ tenure.

Before he was president of Texas Tech, Dr. Nellis was president of the University of Idaho where he led the university toward record enrollments and record levels of fund raising. Previously, he also served as provost and senior vice president at Kansas State University and dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University, the institution’s largest academic college.

He is recognized nationally and internationally for his research that utilizes satellite data and geographic information systems to analyze various dimensions of the Earth's land surface. This research has been funded by more than 50 sources, such as NASA, the National Geographic Society, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. His research has led to more than 160 articles and reports in a wide range of professional journals, and over 20 books and book chapters, and his selection as a Fellow of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science and as a Fellow of the Explorers Club in New York City. He is past president of the American Association of Geographers.

Dr. Nellis is currently a member of the executive committee of the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities Commission on Economic & Community Engagement.

Dr. Nellis received his bachelor's degree in earth sciences/geography at Montana State University in 1976. He received his master's and doctoral degrees in geography from Oregon State University in 1977 and 1980, respectively. He and his wife, Ruthie, have two adult sons.