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Ron Nayler to Retire From Northwestern

Associate vice president for facilities management stepping down after 17 years

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August 13, 2014 | by Alan K. Cubbage

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Ronald Nayler, Northwestern University’s associate vice president for facilities management, will retire at the end of this calendar year, Eugene S. Sunshine, senior vice president for business and finance, announced today (Aug. 13). 

Nayler, who came to Northwestern in 1997, was the University’s first associate vice president for facilities management. In that role, he led a major reorganization of the facilities functions of the University and oversaw the planning, design and construction of more than 30 new buildings and renovations of many others on campus.

“Ron has provided exceptional leadership of all of our facilities areas, and in doing so, has had a significant impact on Northwestern University,” Sunshine said. “The many new buildings, the thoughtfully renovated historic structures, and the enhanced beauty of our campuses are all testaments to his diligence, competence and determination.”

Nayler also has been a leader in Northwestern’s efforts to create more sustainable campuses, creating and hiring the University’s first director of sustainability, overseeing a $40 million energy conservation program and leading efforts to develop alternative energy sources for Northwestern. He developed the idea for -- and is a member of -- Northwestern’s Sustainability Council. Nayler also developed the concept for the University’s Classroom Committee and has co-chaired the committee since its inception.

He also served as the key administrative staff member working with the Board of Trustees Educational Properties Committee, which oversees campus construction projects. In that role, Nayler was the liaison between trustees, faculty and staff involved in the projects and the architects and contractors. He also led the development of a Campus Framework Plan to guide the long-term development of the Evanston campus.

“Ron’s extensive knowledge, his dedicated professionalism and his ability to work with a wide range of constituents have enabled him to help shape Northwestern University in many ways,” said Gordon Segal, chair of the education properties committee. “In the world of design and construction, there are often strong opinions and competing interests, as well as constant budget constraints. Ron has managed to balance all of those, and Northwestern has benefited as a result.” 

Nayler also was involved in the acquisition and sale of several key pieces of property in both Evanston and Chicago. He has worked closely with Evanston city officials for years as well as community members and elected officials in both Chicago and Evanston.

“Northwestern has been the best -- and longest -- experience of my professional career; it has been an amazing opportunity to help lead the physical transformation of the Evanston and Chicago campuses,” Nayler said. “It has been a great pleasure to work with the Board of Trustees, the administration and the faculty, staff and students.

“I’m very proud of what the Facilities Management organization has accomplished and how we’ve positioned Northwestern extraordinarily well for the future,” he added. “Our accomplishments in the physical arena have been great, but what I will treasure most are the friendships that I’ve made at Northwestern.”

Prior to joining Northwestern, Nayler was the associate vice president for facilities at the State University of New York at Buffalo from 1989 to 1997. He also held facilities positions at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Connecticut. Prior to his career in higher education, Nayler served as the director of planning for the city of Boston, worked for architecture and construction firms and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy for three years.

A national search for the position will be done starting this fall under the direction of Nimalan Chinniah, who in September will become Northwestern’s executive vice president.