Walker bill signing

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow, left, looks on as Gov. Scott Walker speaks before signing Assembly Bill 742 into law earlier this year in Centennial Hall on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus. The bill creates new positions at the Department of Workforce Development to coordinate and increase the number of student internships available to college students.

Erik Daily, La Crosse Tribune

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow could be leaving the school for a new job in South Dakota.

In an email he sent Friday morning, Gow said he had been invited by Northern State University in Aberdeen to explore the possibility of becoming that institution’s next president. He is one of three candidates who will visit the campus next week for a series of public meetings with the campus community and the South Dakota Board of Regents.

The other two finalists for the position are Don Capener, the dean of Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University in Florida, and Timothy Downs, provost and chief academic officer at Niagara University in New York.

Gow, 55, said he wanted to see whether he could do at Northern State what he has done at UW-L during the past decade. While he said he was intrigued by the high-quality of Northern State, he also said he had to make sure the position would be a good fit for him as well as those he would be serving.

Northern State serves about 3,500 students, including 450 graduate and 200 international students on its 75-acre campus in Aberdeen, a city of 27,000 on the South Dakota plains.

Gow was named chancellor of UW-L in 2007 and before that he served as both the interim president and provost of Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln and was the dean of the college of liberal arts at Winona State University.

Gow said he was one of several being interviewed for the position and that it would take a lot to pull himself away from UW-L. Northern State is closer to where Gow’s wife, Carmen Wilson, works as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Dickinson State University in North Dakota.

“Regardless of what happens in the next few weeks, though, I’m deeply grateful for all that I have here at UW-L and all the more aware of just how incredibly fortunate I am to be the chancellor of such an extraordinary university,” Gow said in his email.

He is the senior chancellor serving in the UW System. Gow was also a finalist for president of State University of New York at New Paltz in 2011, but he withdrew from consideration.

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Nathan Hansen has been the Education Reporter for the Tribune since 2014. Prior to that, he covered education, agriculture and business topics for the Winona Daily News. He is always on the lookout for news tips and can be contacted at 608-791-8234.

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