Office of the President

President Tim Downs

Dr. Timothy M. Downs is the 17th president of Northern State University. Now in his 32nd year in higher education, Downs began his career as a professor and over time evolved into the administrative ranks spending time in California, Kansas, Pennsylvania and New York higher education institutions.


Downs holds a Ph.D. in organizational communication from the University of Oklahoma; a master’s degree in communication studies from West Virginia University; and a B.A. degree, also in communication studies, from California State University, Sacramento. 


Downs is an active member in the community, currently serving on the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce Board, the United Way of Northeastern South Dakota Board and the Aberdeen Family YMCA Board. He is a member of the Rotary Club and enjoys curling, hunting and golf with his wife, Mary Downs.


Since being named Northern’s president in 2016, Downs has worked to redefine enrollments, update the university’s brand and marketing strategies, and spearhead the creation of a comprehensive campus master plan. In recent years, Northern has added three new residence halls, the Jewett Regional Science Education Center, and Athletic and Recreation Fields, and is in the process of building a  regional sports complex. All of these efforts enhance the experience for current and future Northern students, while leading the university toward increased enrollment and impacting the economy of Aberdeen and the entire region.

Supporting Our Community
A strength of Northern is the community support we receive and give. All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to volunteer!


President's Communications and News


NSU President to Depart from Aberdeen Campus

April 16, 2021 - Dr. Timothy Downs will pursue a new opportunity in higher education.


Message from President Downs: Campus Covid-19 Update

July 24, 2020 - Dr. Timothy Downs reveals more detailed plans for fall semester.


Message from the President: Mask Up, Wolves!

May 29, 2020 - Dr. Timothy Downs discusses cloth face coverings and other protective measures.


Message from President Downs: Fall 2020 Semester

May 1, 2020 - Dr. Timothy Downs offers a look at fall semester plans.


Message from President Downs: Financial Changes due to Covid-19

April 3, 2020 - Dr. Timothy Downs details financial support available to students.


Covid-19: President Downs' Zoom Meeting with Students

March 27, 2020 - Dr. Timothy Downs answers students' questions about Northern's response to Covid-19.


President Downs Shares Response to Covid-19

March 24, 2020 - Dr. Timothy Downs discusses changes related to the Covid-19 pandemic.


President Downs Receives TRIO 2018 Friend of ASPIRE Award

Oct. 2, 2018 - Dr. Timothy Downs was recognized by ASPIRE, the regional professional association of TRIO programs.


President Downs Highlights Longstanding NSU/Avera Partnership (video)

Jan. 21, 2018 - Dr. Timothy Downs and Avera St. Luke's Hospital Regional President/CEO Todd Forkel discuss the partnership between two of Aberdeen's oldest organizations


President Downs' Article 'Philanthropy Matters at State-Run Colleges and Universities'

Dec. 27, 2017 - Published in Prairie Business magazine


President Downs' NSU Welcome Video

Oct. 19, 2017 - Northern State University created a one-of-a-kind welcome video to show that NSU is a university unlike any other


President Downs Discusses NSU, SDSBVI Project (video)

Oct. 4, 2017 - Dr. Timothy Downs discusses a joint project that would include a new $13.7 million home for the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SDSBVI)


President Downs' Remarks at Spring Commencement 2017

May 6, 2017 - Dr. Timothy Downs addressed NSU graduates at the spring commencement ceremony


President Downs to Serve on Regional Boards

Jan. 20, 2017 - Dr. Timothy Downs will serve on the boards of directors for two regional nonprofit organizations


President Downs' Inauguration Speech

Nov. 10, 2016 - Dr. Timothy Downs was inaugurated as Northern State University's 17th president


President Downs' Article on Transitioning to the Presidency

Summer 2016 - Published in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities quarterly magazine, Public Purpose

NSU's Mission, Vision and Values statement

NSU Campus of Distinction: A Framework for Strategic Action

NSU's Organizational Chart

Contact the President's Office