Oct. 30, 2023

MSU Denver Faculty and Staff,

It is with great pleasure that I announce the selection of Laura Niesen de Abruña, Ph.D., as the University’s new provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, beginning Jan. 25.

Laura Niesen de Abruña headshot photo
Laura Niesen de Abruña, Ph.D.

After a highly competitive search, Dr. Niesen de Abruña stood out for her extensive leadership experience, serving as provost at four institutions of higher learning across the country, most recently at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. She previously served as provost at York College of Pennsylvania, Sacred Heart University in Connecticut and Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.

Dr. Niesen de Abruña is also an accomplished professor of English who has published and presented her work extensively. Thanks to her more than 30 years of experience in the classroom and in leadership roles, she has a long history of working effectively with faculty and university leadership to address challenges with innovative solutions.

Internal constituents can read Dr. Niesen de Abruña’s CV and application materials here to learn more about her career experience and impressive academic qualifications. Equally impressive is her deep understanding of our mission and unwavering commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Dr. Niesen de Abruña’s breadth of experience and sense of purpose make her an ideal fit with MSU Denver. She is a leader who gets things done and will hit the ground running.

I want to thank the Provost Search Committee for its outstanding work over the past seven months, during which time members of the committee vetted more than 100 applicants, 13 semifinalists and five finalists. The committee’s input and counsel were critical to my selection of such a highly qualified candidate to lead our academic community.

I’d also like to thank Dr. Marie Mora for her leadership as interim provost over the last nine months. She had been with the University as deputy provost for just seven months when I asked her to serve in an interim role while we conducted a national search. Dr. Mora stepped up big time, and she has been instrumental in creating a path forward that will allow us to move the needle on student retention, completion and post-grad outcomes.

As we continue on that path, doubling down on our mission to prepare Coloradans for the modern workforce, Dr. Niesen de Abruña is primed to help lead the way, keeping our most valuable resource – our people – at the forefront.

Watch the Early Bird for more on the arrival of our new provost. I couldn’t be more excited about MSU Denver’s future as we enter this new chapter.


Janine Davidson, Ph.D.