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Kate Ferrel to Serve as Next Nicolet College President


The Nicolet College Board of Trustees has announced that Kate Ferrel has accepted the position of president of the college. 

Ferrel, who currently serves as executive vice president of Academic and Student Affairs at Nicolet, will begin her duties as president July 1. 

“Kate’s knowledge of Nicolet’s operations, and her personal relationships with staff, stakeholders, the Wisconsin Technical College System, and her engagement with the Nicolet community at large will serve Kate and the college well and she’ll be able to hit the ground running,” said Sharon Nielsen, chair of the Nicolet College Board of Trustees. 

professional portrait of kate ferrel, president

“With her broad experience, strong people skills, creativity, energy, enthusiasm, and dedication to Nicolet, Kate is the right person to lead us forward and we extend our warmest welcome.” 

Ferrel joined Nicolet in 2014 to become the Dean of Students. She subsequently served as vice president of Student Affairs at Nicolet before being promoted to her current position as executive vice president of Academic and Student Affairs. 

“I am truly honored to be charged and entrusted with carrying forward the mission, vision, and values of Nicolet College,” Ferrel said. 

“I’m eager to connect with the Board of Trustees early in my tenure to frame up our plan of work to advance student learning and higher education in the district, continue our pandemic recovery efforts, align people and processes, and collaborate with communities, businesses and industries to build a stronger Northwoods.” 

Prior to Nicolet, Ferrel worked at Mid-State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids from 1999 to 2014, serving as Career Services and Campus Support manager before becoming the associate dean of the Business Division.  

She also taught classes at Mid-State. These included Leadership Development, Marketing, Communications, and Speech.  

Ferrel’s economic development experience includes her service as a director on the Centergy-Central Wisconsin Economic Development Board, participation in educational study tours to Germany, China, Ireland, and Finland, and service as Mid-State Technical College’s Workforce and Economic Development liaison.  

Prior to entering higher education, she worked for 10 years in private industry and for non-profits in marketing and public relations positions.  

Ferrel has a master’s of science degree in Leadership from Nova Southeastern University and a bachelor’s of arts degree in Communication and Public Relations from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She also completed advanced coursework at UW-Madison in Educational Administration and studied abroad at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England, while a student at UW-Eau Claire. 

She replaces Richard Nelson, who has served as Nicolet president since 2015. Nelson is retiring this summer. 

“Dr. Nelson set a high bar during his tenure and we’re confident that as president, Kate will continue to provide the same high level of visionary advancement and impeccable leadership while putting her own stamp on the presidency,” Nielsen added. 

Nicolet offers more than 60 different associate degrees, diplomas, certificates, and apprenticeships programs as well as a University Transfer Liberal Arts Program, where students earn credits towards a bachelor’s degree before transferring to a four-year college or university. 

The Nicolet College District serves all of Oneida, Vilas and Forest counties and portions of Lincoln, Langlade and Iron counties and is one of 16 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System.

Published April 27, 2021