Commissioner Emerita, Dr. Sheila Stearns
Dr. Sheila Stearns is a native Montanan who has served in a variety of senior administrative positions in higher education, including vice president of the University of Montana, chancellor of UM-Western, president of Wayne State College in Nebraska, and from 2003 through 2012, commissioner of higher education in Montana.
The hallmark of Commissioner Stearns’ nine-years of service as commissioner has been her vision to expand educational opportunities for Montanans with a keen focus on quality and affordability. Each institution in the Montana University System owes a measure of its strength to initiatives led by Commissioner Stearns in a direction toward institutional and student success. Each college and university in our system is better today because of her expectation and empowerment for each institution to be a strategic provider of educational opportunity, quality, and affordability.
Dr. Stearns, Montana’s longest-serving Commissioner of Higher Education, tireless advocate for educational opportunity for all, is tremendously suited for the title of Commissioner Emerita, which was awarded to her by the Board of Regents on March 1, 2012.