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Robert Sternberg Takes Office as UW’s 24th President

July 1, 2013
Two men shaking hands
New University of Wyoming President Bob Sternberg shakes hands with a student during a visit to campus earlier this year. (UW Photo)

Pledging to work collaboratively with faculty, staff, students, alumni, legislators and friends to lead the University of Wyoming to prominence as one of the nation’s top land-grant universities, new UW President Robert Sternberg officially begins his duties today (Monday).

“I’m thrilled finally to be on the job,” says Sternberg, who was selected by the Board of Trustees in February as UW’s 24th president. “I couldn’t be more excited to get better acquainted with all of the great folks who work for and study at the university, as well as to meet more of the wonderful people of the state. Wyoming is the state in which my wife, Karin, and I most wanted to live, and the University of Wyoming is where I most wanted to work, so I view myself as extremely fortunate to be here.”

In the past several months, while serving out his term as provost and senior vice president at Oklahoma State University, Sternberg has met and corresponded with retiring UW President Tom Buchanan and other university leaders, as well as with numerous supporters of the university. He also has made a number of visits to the state.

He and Karin -- along with their 2-year-old triplets, Samuel, Brittany and Melody -- completed their move to Laramie in the last couple of weeks.

“We’re delighted to be in our new home and look forward to connecting with our new community,” says Sternberg, an avid hiker and a first-generation high school and college graduate. “I am especially excited about the land-grant mission of the university -- to serve its state, its community and the nation. And, as the state flagship, it also must excel in teaching and research.”

The new president says he expects to be extremely busy during his first weeks and months on the job as he meets with campus, state and business leaders, as well as citizens in all walks of life. He also plans to do a considerable amount of traveling around the state to meet with UW constituents, including visits to all 23 counties and a series of listening sessions on campus and throughout the state.

Among his biggest immediate priorities is working with the Board of Trustees, and UW and state leaders to prepare the university’s budget request for the 2015-16 biennium.

“This is an important time for the university, as we consider reallocating internal resources to meet critical state needs while seeking additional public and private support to make sure the university will play an even larger role in educating the citizens of Wyoming and supporting our economy,” Sternberg says. “One thing that’s clear as I get started in the budget process is that the university must find a way to raise employee salaries, so that we can recruit and retain outstanding people.”

Sternberg’s priorities for UW include, first and foremost, development of ethical leadership in students, faculty and staff; and also a focus on student retention and graduation; hiring, developing and retaining outstanding faculty and staff; collaborations with community colleges and the K-12 school system; economic development efforts around the state; collaborations with business and industry, as well as government and community organizations; promotion of the arts and humanities; enhancement of student life; budget management and financial controls; creation of a Tier 1 engineering program responsive to the state’s needs; and broad stakeholder participation in, and transparency of, university governance.

President Sternberg, who prefers to be called “Bob,” says he’s eager to hear from members of the public. He invites questions, suggestions or comments via email at


About Robert Sternberg

Work history

-- 2010-June 2013: Provost and senior vice president, Oklahoma State University.

-- 2005-2010: Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Tufts University.

-- 1975-2005: Held numerous positions at Yale University, ending up as IBM Professor of Psychology and Education, professor of management, and director of the Center for the Psychology of Abilities, Competencies and Expertise (a center dedicated to helping children and adults develop their talents to the greatest possible extent so they optimally could fulfill their goals in life).

-- Ph.D. in psychology, Stanford University, 1975.

-- B.A. in psychology, summa cum laude, Yale University, 1972.

Selected honors and offices

-- 2012-13: President of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

-- 2007-present: Board member and now treasurer of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

-- 2007-present: Honorary professor, Heidelberg University, Germany.

-- 2003: President of the American Psychological Association.

-- 13 honorary degrees from 12 different countries.

-- Member of National Academy of Education and American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

-- Fulbright Senior Specialist Fellow to Slovakia in 2005; IREX Visiting Scholar Fellow to Russia in 2000; selected as a Fellow by 22 professional societies.

-- Listed as one of the “Top 100 Psychologists of the 20th Century” by the APA Monitor; named one of the 100 “Top Young Scientists in the U.S.” by Science Digest in 1984.

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