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Interim Gordon president named

University System of Georgia (USG) Chief Operating Officer Rob Watts announced Tuesday that he has appointed Shelley C. Nickel to serve as interim president of Gordon College, Barnesville. Nickel, currently associate vice chancellor for Planning and Implementation for the Board of Regents (BOR), will begin her interim presidential appointment on July 1, 2010, following current Gordon College President, Dr. Lawrence Weill, who is stepping down after eight years as president. Nickel will serve in this role until the new permanent president has been selected. ’Shelley’s career encompasses a wide range of executive experience in state government as well as extensive higher education experience,’ said Watts. ‘This interim appointment reflects not only the Board of Regents’ extraordinary confidence in Shelley, but her willingness and proven ability to lead Gordon College through this important transitional period.’ In her current role at the BOR, Nickel is responsible for executing the board’s strategic plan and implementing system-wide projects. She also provides leadership and direction to USG institutions on how to move strategic initiatives forward with ARRA funds and provides leadership for the development of the proposed research park at Fort McPherson. From July 2005 until Aug. 2007, Nickel was director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (OPB), where she had overall responsibility for the State of Georgia’s $20.1 billion annual budget. From Feb. 2003 through June 2005, Nickel was president of the Georgia Student Finance Commission. There she was responsible for administering the state’s scholarship, grant and loan programs totaling $748 million in Fiscal Year 2004, serving 321,416 students. Nickel also provided leadership for the state’s public policy on access to higher education, including development of, a one-stop shop helping students plan, apply and pay for college. Prior to heading up these two state agencies, Nickel held two key executive positions for the Board of Regents. First, from Jan. 1997 until Sept. 2000, she served as budget director, where she administered the USG’s then $4.7 billion annual budget. From Sept. 2000 until Feb. 2003, Nickel was the special assistant to the chancellor. In this role, she served as the chancellor’s senior policy advisor. Earlier in her career, Nickel was a policy analyst at OPB, from Nov. 1985 until Dec. 1996. She was responsible for budget analysis for various areas and agencies of state government, including the USG. Nickel, a native of Pennsylvania, began her career in the Keystone State, where she worked for state government in a number of positions, including the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the state Senate, the Governor’s Office of Budget and Administration, as well as several positions in county governments. She earned a master’s degree in Public Administration and a bachelor of science in Community Development, both from Penn State University. She received an Alumni Fellow award from her alma mater in 2007 and is a life member of the Penn State Alumni Association. In 1999 she was selected to participate in the Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration, held at Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pa. Currently she is in the inaugural class of the USG’s new Executive Leadership Institute, which prepares USG staff for higher leadership positions. Her activities, past and present, include service on state, higher education and policy-related organizations such as the National Association of State Budget Officers, the One Georgia Authority Board, the Georgia Workforce Investment Board, the HOPE Joint Study Commission, the National Council of Higher Education Loan Program, the Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators at the state, regional and national levels, the College Board, the Governor’s Education Reform Study Commission, and the National Association of College and University Business Officers. Nickel lives in Roswell, Georgia, with her husband, Martin. Together they have three children and one grandchild.

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