Evans begins term as 34th Peru State College president

Nebraska City News-Press

Dr. Michael Evans began as president at Peru State College on July 1. Evans will serve as the 34th president of Nebraska’s first college.

Evans spent his first day visiting with faculty and staff at Peru State. A small reception was also held to officially welcome the new president and his wife, First Lady Joanna Evans.

Evans has expressed his excitement about the opportunity to serve as president and emphasized his commitment to the students, faculty and staff at Peru State College.

Evans said, “Peru State is a truly special place, with an amazing mission and a profoundly supportive and caring culture. Joanna and I are thrilled to be joining this community and contributing to the success of the college and its students.”

On March 24, 2021, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved Dr. Evans to be the next president of Peru State College. Evans succeeds Dr. Dan Hanson, who announced his plans to retire last October. Hanson's last day was June 30, 2021.

The comprehensive search process involved input and deliberation from a wide range of constituents and stakeholders, including the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members, and allowed the search committee to choose the best leader for Peru State College and its future.

Evans served most recently as the vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer for Southern New Hampshire University's campus-based program. Prior to SNHU, he was the provost of Unity College in Maine, and before that, he was the interim dean of the Indiana University School of Journalism. He served on the IU School of Journalism faculty for 14 years, earning tenure and promotion there.

Evans is a graduate of the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard, earned a certificate in higher-education diversity from Cornell, and completed a nonprofit leadership program from Northwestern. His research explores indigenous communities' expressions of culture through mass media. With the support of a Fulbright, he has conducted ethnographic fieldwork with Inuit videographers in the eastern Canadian Arctic, and he has conducted similar research with Aboriginal video and radio professionals in the Australian Outback and Native American journalists in several North American nations.

Evans earned his doctorate and masters in folklore from Indiana University and his bachelor's in English and philosophy from Bowdoin College.

Peru State College’s “Campus of a Thousand Oaks,” a member of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, is nestled in the hills of historic southeast Nebraska on the Missouri River. The college offers a mix of innovative online and traditional classroom undergraduate and graduate programs, including online graduate degrees in education and organizational management.

Nebraska’s first college, established in 1867 as a teacher training school with one building and 60 students, has transformed over the past century and a half into a state-of-the-art institution offering diverse, multifaceted educational programs to around 2,400 students. Peru State College has long been a wellspring of leadership, an invaluable resource for communities and businesses, and a source of accomplished graduates known for their excellent education and professional competence.

The college has enjoyed considerable support from the state of Nebraska, with more than $75 million of campus renovation projects funded over the last 15 years. While serving students around the globe, Peru State retains a special commitment to serve the residents and needs of the southeast Nebraska community through education, research and public service programs.