LARAMIE (AP) — Robert Sternberg said his father’s dream was for him to someday take over the family’s second-floor, walk-up button store in Newark, N.J.
The son didn’t fulfill his father’s wish.
He earned a scholarship and went to college instead.
“There wasn’t much of a future for second-floor walk-ups in Newark,” Sternberg said.
He pursued academics, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1972 from Yale and a Ph.D in psychology in 1975 from Stanford.
He is a first-generation high school and college graduate.
Sternberg, 63, hired last month as the University of Wyoming’s 24th president, said his past has shaped his interest in helping students better prepare for and succeed in college.
“I was not so terribly well prepared for school and certainly not for college,” he said. “I find it exciting to serve students for whom the university can make such a meaningful difference.
“College made me what I am, and UW can do, and does, the same for so many students.”
Sternberg, the provost and senior vice president at Oklahoma State University, was chosen as the successor to retiring UW President Tom Buchanan.
His resume also includes positions at Yale and Tufts University in Medford, Mass.
The new president takes office July 1 and is scheduled to visit campus in coming weeks.
UW Board President Dave Bostrom described Sternberg as a “great fit for UW and Wyoming” and an administrator who will “build on the excellent leadership” provided by Buchanan over the years.
Sternberg said he interviewed for several presidential positions, but withdrew from consideration because he didn’t feel the right “fit” or “match” for himself and his family, wife Karin and 2-year-old triplets Samuel, Brittany and Melody.
Wyoming, “the most beautiful state in the country,” was the family’s desired destination, he said.
Years ago, as a professor, Sternberg made a presentation at UW. The school and Laramie left an impression.
“Wyoming has great people, friendly people with a pioneer spirit,” Sternberg said.