Scott Olson will be Winona State University's 15th president.

A Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees committee unanimously recommended Olson at its meeting Wednesday morning, and the full board unanimously confirmed the recommendation.

"This is really an honor," Olson said at the meeting.

The board decided to stay in-house, choosing the Minnesota State University – Mankato provost and vice president for academic and student affairs.

Olson is "clearly the right person at the right time," said MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rostenstone at the meeting.

The board also named Connie Gores, WSU's VP for student life and development, as the interim president. Gores will serve until July 16, when Olson is expected to begin.

"I'm humbled by this appointment," Gores told the board. 

"Go Warriors!" she added.

At a packed reception for the president-elect and interim president at WSU Wednesday afternoon, Gores presented Olson with his first piece of Warrior garb, a purple polo shirt. "I am really really happy to be welcoming him to campus," she told the crowd.

Olson has been the chief academic officer at MSU since 2003. One of two finalists for the president position, he visited campus mid-April and received a favorable response from both the campus and greater Winona community.

At MSU, Olson led a committee in 2010 that restructured the university during the budget crunch, which included eliminating positions, offering buyouts and early retirement options, and making cuts to programs such as mass communications and computer programming.

That same year, Olson temporarily left MSU to take the interim academic affairs position at the MnSCU offices in St. Paul, giving him a better understanding of how the system works.

"I went there to learn how the campus could work with the office better to achieve our goals," he said in an interview with the Daily News in April. "I did make some progress, and I sure learned a lot."

Olson beat out one other finalist for the position. Anne Huot is the provost and vice president for academic affairs at the College at Brockport, State University of New York. A second finalist, Jem Spectar, from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, dropped out of consideration before his scheduled campus visit in April.

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