Vice President for Student Affairs Glenn Nicholls to retire after 26 years at CWRU

After more than a quarter century serving students at Case Western Reserve University, Glenn Nicholls will retire as vice president for Student Affairs at the end of this academic year.

“Glenn’s commitment to our students and university is nothing less than extraordinary,” Provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack said. “We are profoundly grateful to him for his compassion, integrity and deep respect for the individuals who live and learn on our campus.”

Nicholls came to Case Western Reserve after stints at Mount Vernon Bible College, The Ohio State University and Saint Louis University. At Ohio State, he was director of the off-campus student center, while at Saint Louis University he was dean for human development.

As the leader of this university’s Division of Student Affairs, Nicholls has overseen programs in athletics and physical education, the Career Center, Educational Support Services, Housing and Residential Life, Multicultural Affairs, student judicial programs and University Health Services. He also has served in leadership roles within the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the University Athletic Association.

To comprehend the significance of Nicholls’ time at Case Western Reserve, consider some of the other major developments in 1986, the year he arrived in Cleveland. The Oprah Winfrey Show premiered. Pixar Studios opened. And the first automated email list application, “Revised LISTSERV,” launched.

Today Oprah has her own television network. Pixar is renowned for technological innovation in movies like Toy Story. And Case Western Reserve’s student, staff and faculty are among the 425 million users of Gmail, an email system developed by 1998 Case Western Reserve graduate Paul Buchheit.

Among the most significant developments during Nicholls’ tenure were the construction and opening of the Veale Convocation, Athletic and Recreation Center and the Village at 115. The latter is a state-of-the-art residential complex whose seven houses encircle the university football field and track. Opened in 2005, the project exceeded 400,000 square feet and earned LEED silver and gold ratings—designations that testify to their environmental efficiency and sustainable construction.

Over the years, Nicholls and his family became increasingly engaged with the university. One of his two daughters earned a degree in management from the university in 2003. He served as an honorary leader of Relay for Life and made a significant commitment for the press box at Mather Ballpark in honor of his late wife, Peggy, who succumbed to cancer in 2007. The softball field and press box were dedicated on April 15, 2009.

“Case Western Reserve always has been a remarkable place, and today it is experiencing an especially noteworthy sense of momentum and energy,” Nicholls said. “I am honored to have been part of the institution for so many years, to have worked with such exceptional colleagues, and to have come to know such outstanding students as they pursued their studies here. Without question, the experience of collaborating with so many exceptional undergraduate, graduate and professional students is something I will always treasure.”

Provost Baeslack said his office will launch a national search for the university’s next vice president for student affairs. He is in the process of appointing a universitywide search committee; those interested serving, or in nominating a colleague to serve, should email Baeslack’s executive aide at

Nicholls will remain with Case Western Reserve to manage special projects at the university.