NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s Acting President Dr. Chris Maggio jumped into his leadership role at NSU with both feet, continuing to foster the growth and momentum the university has experienced in the last three years. Maggio is a fixture at campus activities and events, ballgames and performing arts programs, interacting with students, faculty and staff while advocating for NSU on higher education issues at the state level.
Last week, Maggio joined cadets from NSU’s ROTC program for their early morning 4-mile run through campus.
“Dr. Maggio asked to run with us,” said LTC Katherine Carlson. “He really respects the cadets and the program and wanted to show his support.”
“I had the opportunity to address them after the run and I told them how much I appreciated all that they do, and how proud I am of them for how they represent our university,” he said. “They are our nation’s future leaders and I thanked them for choosing NSU and NSU Army ROTC. They do this every day. It was an honor for me to share their physical training run for just one day.”
Maggio has long been a supporter of the nation’s military and earlier this year initiated a program to honor veterans at all home basketball games.
Maggio has been acting president since Jan. 1, following the departure of Dr. Jim Henderson who accepted the position as head of the University of Louisiana System. Maggio will continue to guide the university during a presidential search that should conclude in May with leadership in place by July 1.
Maggio has been actively engaged in recruiting, traveling to schools and events all over the state, and his approachability resonates with current and prospective students.
“What Dr. Maggio has done for recruiting is difficult to put in words,” said Jana Lucky, director of University Recruiting. “He works very hard to try to meet and visit with every prospective student that he can. He gets daily updates to see which prospective students are visiting the university each day so that he can greet them by name if he has the opportunity. Dr. Maggio takes personal attention to a whole new level. He loves NSU and it shows in everything that he does.”
Maggio is a Natchitoches native and 1985 summa cum laude graduate of NSU. He earned his master’s of education at NSU and received a doctorate in developmental education at Grambling State University. He has been on staff at NSU since 1988 and has served in a variety of administrative roles, including Dean of Students, director of Alumni Affairs and executive director of the NSU Foundation.
While acting as president, Maggio maintains his role as vice president for the Student Experience, in which he leads the Dean of Students and the Offices of Admissions, Recruiting, Financial Aid, Student Activities and Organizations, First Year Experience and Leadership Development, Judicial Services, Counseling and Career Services, Student Life, the Student Activities Board, Student Government Association and Greek Life. He is actively involved with many aspects of student life, from participating in the Lady of the Bracelet pageant where he played a role in a musical piece by the Student Theatre Organization, and judging debate competitions.
“The first time a student meets him he remembers their name, where they are from, what high school they went to, exactly where it is and something about their family,” said Student Government Association President John Pearce of Livonia. “Besides being deeply involved with Student Government in obvious ways, he was instrumental in allowing the foundation of my fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha. I have seen him involved with every aspect of this university since he stepped in, and if he isn't present, his wonderful wife Jennifer usually is.”
Maggio is also overseeing growth with the campus itself, with a new driving range in the works and irrigation improvement underway at the Robert Wilson Recreation Complex, clean up initiatives and seawall repair on Chaplin’s Lake and improvements at the tennis courts. There have also been upgrades in Kyser Hall and in facilities at the Health and Human Performance Building.
The search committee for Northwestern State’s next president will receive nominations/applications and a list of candidates by the end of March. On April 3, the committee will meet to review applicant materials and select semifinalists. On-campus interviews will take place April 24-26 with finalists presented to the full board and interviews conducted on May 4, at which time the board may make a selection.