ASU board appoints Cheryl D. Lovell interim president

ALAMOSA— Cheryl D. Lovell, Ph.D., speaks about the “mobility bump” that students experience as they earn a college degree. She will witness that phenomenon now as the new president of Adams State University.

Dr. Lovell, who holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Florida State University, was selected to serve a 12-month appointment by the Adams State Board of Trustees on Tuesday. The interim appointment comes after a weeks-long search, and shifts Adams State into a new phase of its 98-year history. Dr. Lovell begins July 1.

“I am so proud to be joining the Adams State University community,” Dr. Lovell said. “This is an institution I have long admired for its solid commitment to student success. I am especially pleased to be leading such a strong team and university dedicated to access, opportunity, and affordability for a diverse population.”

Herself a low-income, first-generation college student, she brings a keen understanding and passion for Adams State’s mission to provide access and opportunity to all students, regardless of ZIP code or economic status.

She is fond of talking about the “mobility bump” that occurs for students who come from impoverished and historically underrepresented backgrounds to campuses of higher education, and how a college degree helps move people up the economic ladder and creates social mobility within their lives.

“Adams State’s desire to become the university community of choice for diverse and historically underserved groups and all who value quality education and inclusivity is achievable,” she said. “I am sure we can move forward together to keep ASU focused on its communities and supportive of their needs.”

As she did her own homework on Adams State, she offered, “I am equally pleased to see your athletic programs are so strong. As a student-athlete myself, I appreciate these experiences and want to be part of a campus community that also values student engagement and athletic competition at both intramural and intercollegiate levels.”

Dr. Lovell arrives in Alamosa from metro-Denver, where she has been a mainstay in higher education circles during the past 20 years, including most recently special advisor to the chancellor and to the chief academic officer for the Colorado State University System.

She served as president and CEO of Rocky Vista University, a private osteopathic medical school in Parker, from December 2012 to December 2015, and was the chief academic officer for Colorado Department of Higher Education from February 2010 to July 2011.

“Dr. Lovell’s extensive academic record and deep knowledge of higher education in Colorado brings tremendous advantages to Adams State,” said ASU Board of Trustees Chairman Cleave Simpson. “The Board was very thoughtful, deliberate and diligent throughout its process to identify a new leader for the University. Now it’s time for all of us who are part of the Adams State family to focus our energies on serving the students and simultaneously enhancing our great institution in preparation for our 100-year celebration.”

Having graduated from a regional comprehensive university and having worked for a regional university, Dr. Lovell knows how much Adams State, as the regional educational provider for southern Colorado, can make a difference in the lives of others. She also brings deep experiences in higher education from Georgia, Texas, Arkansas and Florida, in addition to her extensive experience with higher education in Colorado.

Dr. Lovell, who succeeds Dr. Matt Nehring as president, assumes the leadership of Adams State at a time when the University has awarded its first Ph.D. degrees in May and as it focuses on growing its graduate degree student population, pushes for a higher enrollment of undergraduate students, and continues to develop its financial action plan to reflect the changing model of higher education.

Dr. Nehring will return to the department of chemistry, computer science and mathematics as a professor of physics after a year serving as interim vice president of academic affairs and, since March, interim president of the University.

Adams State recently hired Joaquín Vilá, Ph.D., as its vice president of academic affairs. Dr. Vilá comes to Adams State from Northern New Mexico College in Española, N.M., where he served as dean of the college of education. His appointment at ASU also begins in July.

We all owe a great deal of appreciation to Dr. Nehring for his outstanding leadership and for the work he and the entire campus did to address significant, and ongoing, budgetary issues,” said Dr. Lovell. “He also has left a lasting, positive impact on ASU in improving the quality of ASU's programs and services.

“I am thankful as well to the ASU Board of Trustees for its dedicated leadership and service. I am humbled by their confidence in my abilities to move ASU forward.”

Cheryl D. Lovell, Ph.D.



Ph.D. Florida State University, 1990

Major: Higher Education

Dissertation: Faculty Grievances: A Longitudinal Study of Conflict

Issues in the State University System of Florida


M.Ed. University of West Georgia, 1982

Major: Guidance and Counseling for Higher Education

Cognate: College Student Development


B.A. University of West Georgia, 1981

Major: Political Science, Pre-Law

Minor: Criminal Justice

Administration/Leadership Experience (Selected list):

Special advisor to the Chancellor and to the Chief Academic Officer for the Colorado State University System – January 2016 to June 30, 2018

President Emerita, Rocky Vista University -- December 2015 to Present

President/CEO of Rocky Vista University -- December 2012 to December 2015

Chief Academic Officer for Colorado Department of Higher Education -- February 2010 to July 2011 (While serving as CAO, Dr. Lovell retained University of Denver status as a tenured/full professor and maintained student advising and limited teaching responsibilities)

Associate Dean, Morgridge College of Education (MCE), University of Denver – September 2001 to September 2009

Assistant Dean, College of Education, University of Denver – September 1999 to September 2001

Academic/Faculty Appointments

Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver

Professor, June 2006 to December 2012

Associate Professor (with Tenure), June 2000 to 2006

Assistant Professor, September 1995 to June 2000


Recognized as an outstanding faculty member

Accomplished faculty member with extensive teaching and research while simultaneously holding progressively responsible academic administrative roles

Tenured full professor at a doctoral university (with high research classification)

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