Georgia Southern welcomes a new interim president

Shelley Nickel will serve as GSU's interim president. (Caitlyn Penter WTGS)

Leadership changes are coming to Georgia Southern University.

Dr. Jaimie Hebert is GSU's outgoing president. He is stepping down effective June 30.

Shelley Clark Nickel is stepping into the role until a permanent president is found.

"I am really excited. I have landed here and am so excited to be a part of the Eagle nation," said Nickel.

Nickel comes to Georgia Southern with lots of experience. She has served as interim president for Gordon State College. She just recently served as the Georgia University System's executive vice chancellor for strategy and fiscal affairs.

During that role, she implemented system-wide projects and made sure that things were financially and fiscally sound.

Nickel said she is very optimistic about integrating the Armstrong campus more firmly into the Georgia Southern community.

She realizes that she has some obstacles ahead.

"Communication is always one of those things that we can do a better job at," said Nickel.

Some students are concerned about yet another change in leadership. Dr. Hebert served as the school's president for only two years.

"In the email it wasn't even clear as to why he was leaving, it was just more, 'He's leaving and thank you for letting me be your president,'" said Mikayla Johnson, a senior at Georgia Southern.

Johnson has one more semester before she graduates, and she wishes the best for her new president.

"I hope that she will stick around because I think Georgia Southern is a really great school. But if the presidents are always changing, I don't think that makes people comfortable," said Johnson.

The university plans to do a welcome video for Nickel to formally introduce her to students and staff. She officially starts July 1.

The University System of Georgia will conduct a nationwide search for GSU's permanent president.

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