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Former Provost Cheryl Stevens dies at age 67

Provost Cheryl Stevens fields questions from faculty members during the faculty senate meeting on Aug. 29, 2019. The provost discussed reallocation of money in the senate budget, representation of minority student populations and a state orchestrated program evaluation.

Editor’s note: This story was updated on 9/14 at 1:40 p.m. with Stevens’ age and a comment from current Ogden Dean David Brown.

Cheryl Stevens, WKU provost emeritus and former dean of the Ogden College of Science and Engineering, died this morning at age 67 after battling cancer.

Stevens began working at WKU in 2012 when she became the dean of the Ogden College of Science and Engineering. Previously, Stevens worked at Xavier University in Louisiana as the chair of the department of chemistry and associate dean for research.


In 2019, Stevens was chosen to become the acting provost of the university after the resignation of a former provost. Stevens would hold this position, in which she acted as the chief academic officer for WKU, until her retirement in 2021.

WKU President Timothy Caboni shared his condolences in an email sent today to faculty and staff.

When I arrived at WKU in 2017, I met frequently with Dean Stevens,” Caboni said in the email. “Her advice, insight and leadership made my transition to President much easier. I am forever grateful for her selflessness and passion for our beloved institution.”

Cheryl Stevens, former dean of Ogden College of Science and Engineering, has been the acting provost at WKU since April 2019.

Greg Arbuckle, professor and program coordinator of manufacturing engineering technology, became interim dean of Ogden in 2019 after Stevens became acting provost. He described Stevens as an “amazing mentor” and someone who supported all faculty and staff throughout the university.

“Cheryl was an amazing leader, both in her role as dean of the college and as Provost through very difficult times at the university, budgetary or COVID pandemic,” Arbuckle said. “She was very open to communication, and she was always willing to listen to everyone around her and was always very thoughtful in her decision making.”

David Brown, current dean of Ogden, described Stevens’ achievements throughout her life and at WKU. She served as President of the American Crystallographic Association and was a member of the U.S. National Committee on Crystallography and was also involved in more than $20 million in grant-funded projects.

Stevens participated in the construction and design of Ogden Hall, which opened in spring 2018 and features a “science on display” theme chosen by Stevens and incorporates science and art, Brown stated. Brown also stated that under Stevens’ leadership as dean, the Department of Psychological Sciences was founded, the School for Engineering and Applied Sciences was formed and the engineering programs achieved full, independent status.

“Dr. Stevens was an excellent scientist and humanitarian who left an indelible imprint on Ogden College and WKU,” Brown stated via email. “Her creativity and attention to detail are visible every time we walk through Ogden College Hall.  She was a valued colleague and mentor and will be missed.

Services for Stevens have not yet been announced.

Editor-in-chief Alexandria Anderson can be reached at [email protected].

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