New SF State president is Leslie Wong of Northern Michigan University

Leslie E. Wong has been announced as the new president of SF State today. The former president of Northern Michigan University will replace President Robert A. Corrigan as the 13th president of SF State and is expected to start Aug. 1.

“I am pleased and honored to be chosen as the next president of San Francisco State, and look forward to working closely with students, faculty and staff,” said Wong in a press release. “SFSU’s commitment to social justice, its diverse student body and its position as a leader in the global educational arena make for a vibrant and forward-thinking campus community.”

A closed meeting was held Monday by the California State University Board of Trustees, which was ultimately responsible for electing the new president. The presidential search committee narrowed the candidates down to three.

“We had six semi-finalists that we narrowed down to three, the three finalists,” said Maxine Chernoff, chair and professor of the creative writing department. “He seems to be a popular person there (Northern Michigan University), and maybe a good manager. I don’t know a lot about his educational qualities for the job because I was out at a colleage’s memorial when he came to interview, but I wish him well.”

Wong has been very involved in student life on campus, according to NMU spokeswoman Cindy Paavola. When the short track olympic trials were held at NMU, Wong learned how to ice skate. He is also known to check in on on-campus lab research and even took part in a student theater production.

“In Michigan, just like in California, we are facing some serious budget issues,” said Paavola. “He spends a lot of time in Lansing (Michigan’s state capitol) trying to make the legislators aware of the problems facing NMU. He also played a big role in securing the largest gift that NMU has received: a donation from an alumni of $5 million. He’s a real hard worker who isn’t afraid to tackle big problems. He’s very team-oriented and he doesn’t make decisions without consulting those involved in the process.”

Under a policy passed by the Board of Trustees yesterday, Wong’s state-funded compensation can be no higher than Corrigan’s. He will be eligible for a pay increase of 10 percent funded by an auxiliary fundraising entity, but any raise is subject to approval by the board, according to CSU spokesman Erik Fallis.