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President Wagner

Dr. Robert W. Wagner began serving as Idaho State University’s fourteenth president on January 29, 2024.  Before coming to ISU, he was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Utah State University (USU).  He also previously served as the Vice President for Academic and Instructional Services, a unique organizational blend of student, faculty, operational, innovation and academic programming responsibilities.

While at Utah State University, Wagner was responsible for strategic initiatives, enrollment management,  and many aspects of the student life cycle including recruiting, admissions, financial aid, student orientation, retention, and completion.  He has served on several national boards, including industry advisory panels and higher education associations, and served as chair of the Utah Education and Telehealth Network Governing Board. 

Wagner held several administrative positions, including leadership within USU’s Provost Office (Assistant Vice Provost, Vice Provost, Executive Vice Provost and Dean) associated with the university’s Statewide Campus System, academic programming and faculty development, as well as Executive Director for Distance Education.  Before coming to USU in 2007, Wagner served as a Special Assistant to the President, focusing on government relations and special projects for the State University of New York at Albany. His administrative experience includes institutional strategic planning, cross-institutional collaboration, community engagement, innovation in higher education, fundraising, student achievement, and government, industry and community partnerships.  Prior to his role in Albany, New York, he was a professional educator and administrator for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ educational system where he specialized in personalized education and learning models for students with disabilities. 

As a sought-after speaker on innovation in higher education, Wagner emphasizes access, student success, the impact of higher education, and its integration with technology and community. His contributions have been published through various channels, including podcasts, conference presentations, articles, panels, and guest lectures.  He enjoys engaging with students, faculty and staff while also collaborating with peers across the national and international higher education community. He is dedicated to exploring the evolving ways education can more effectively serve society.

Wagner’s own education journey was punctuated by degrees earned while working part- and full-time, supporting a family and serving in his community.  He obtained his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brigham Young University and earned his Master of Public Administration from the University of Utah. Wagner went on to complete his PhD in political science (public policy and public law) from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York-Albany with an emphasis in university, industry, and government relations.  He also holds higher education leadership certificates from Harvard University and Arizona State University-Georgetown University.

Wagner and his wife, Tracy, are the parents of five adult children and three grandchildren.


Robert Wagner