BUTTE – Montana Technological University’s next chancellor was named on Friday morning.
Les Cook, vice president for strategic university partnerships at Michigan Technological University, will be Montana Tech’s 12th chancellor, the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education announced.
“The community was integral in this process. We heard from alumni, current, and former faculty, community leadership, and industry partners who are all deeply invested in the future success of this campus,” Clayton Christian, Montana Commissioner of Higher Education said. “I believe the right person was selected to serve as Tech’s new chancellor. Dr. Cook has both a record of accomplishment and a deep desire to serve the mission and students of Montana Tech. I’m certain he will put students first, have a commitment to helping faculty grow and engage industry in partnerships that will be good for students, the university, and Butte.”
Cook has spent the last 16 years at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan where he has held numerous leadership positions including vice president for student affairs and advancement. There he led alumni engagement, athletics, dean of students, enrollment management, and university marketing and communications. Cook also serves as the chair-elect of the NASPA Foundation—the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession.
“I am deeply humbled and thrilled about the opportunity to lead Montana Technological University,” Cook said. “It’s no secret that Montana Tech is well known for preparing graduates for lives of consequence. Being ranked first in the country for best value engineering schools, the top university in Montana for return on investment and first in the nation for advancing social mobility and America’s economy is significant, but it all comes down to the people that make this happen. I’m inspired by all of those who have made Tech the institution it is today and I’m energized by the possibilities for the future.”
“My wife and I are looking forward to becoming Orediggers,” said Cook, in reference to the university’s mascot and mining heritage. “Montana Tech and Butte are both gems. The community is so welcoming and passionate about Butte and the university is top notch. I’m very impressed by the faculty, staff, and students and look forward to working with them and the community to take the school to new heights. I absolutely can’t wait to get started”
Prior to Michigan Technological University, Cook held positions at the University of the Pacific, the University of Utah, and Salt Lake Community College. He holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Brigham Young University, a master’s in social science and bachelor’s in political science from Utah State University.
Cook will succeed Don Blackketter who is retiring after serving as the university’s chancellor since 2011.
The school will be hosting an official welcoming event on campus the last week of April. Officials said this is a great opportunity for students, alumni, faculty, staff, MUS colleagues, and the public to meet Dr. Cook and welcome him to the community. Check mtech.edu for more details as they become available.