News Release

Charles Nies named chancellor of University of Minnesota Duluth

Split image. Left side: UMD Bulldog statue. Right: Headshot of Charles Nies

Dr. Charles Nies has been named the tenth chancellor of the University of Minnesota Duluth, effective July 1, 2024 and pending approval by the University’s Board of Regents at its May 2024 meeting.

“Dr. Nies is an experienced, strategic leader who is ready to tackle UMD’s challenges and celebrate its success,” said University of Minnesota Interim President Jeff Ettinger. “He will continue to build UMD’s great partnerships with the Duluth community, region and the University of Minnesota System. UMD is poised for a bright future under his leadership.”

Nies currently serves as the vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of California, Merced. Founded in 2005, UC Merced is one of 10 campuses in the University of California system and the youngest university in the U.S. to earn the Carnegie R2 designation — the second-highest classification for American research universities. Nies joined UC Merced in 2006 as its first associate vice chancellor and dean of students, a role in which he oversaw the development and growth of student life programs on campus. 

“I am honored to be able to serve in the role of chancellor at the University of Minnesota Duluth — having grown up in Minnesota, this will be a coming home opportunity,” said Nies. “I am also excited to join the Duluth and University of Minnesota communities. UMD is filled with wonderfully creative and brilliant students, faculty and staff, and I look forward to the discovery that has been and will continue to be our mark of excellence.”

Nies comes to UMD with over 25 years of experience in higher education. Prior to his work at UC Merced, he served as an assistant dean of an interdisciplinary school at Miami University in Ohio and a program director for a minor in leadership studies at Washington State University. As an instructor, he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership theory, organizational theory and student development. 

Nies holds two degrees from Washington State University — a doctorate in education administration and leadership and a master’s in counseling psychology. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Nies succeeds Interim Chancellor David McMillan, who will remain in the role through June, and Chancellor Lendley Black, who retired in the summer of 2022.

About the University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Visit

About the University of Minnesota Duluth
One of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Duluth integrates liberal education, research, creative activity, and public engagement and prepares students to thrive as lifelong learners and globally engaged citizens. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the Duluth campus offers 87 undergraduate and post-baccalaureate degrees and graduate programs in more than 24 different fields. See UMD’s Land Acknowledgement statement. Visit

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