Dr. Christine Nygren Announces Retirement from Extension Foundation as CEO

Dr. Christine Nygren (formerly Geith), Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Extension Foundation has announced her retirement effective January 13th, 2023. The Board of Directors selected Dr. Nygren as CEO in July 2015 during a transitional period for the Extension Foundation. Prior to joining the Extension Foundation, Dr. Nygren was the Assistant Provost and Executive Director of MSU Global at Michigan State University. 

During her tenure as the CEO, Dr. Nygren led a vision for the organization to help the Cooperative Extension system achieve national priorities aligned with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) that helped expand the capacity of Extension efforts through system-wide responses. Because of her leadership, the Extension Foundation has closely allied with ECOP, USDA-NIFA, CDC, EPA, and other agencies to better deliver national funded programs such as the Extension Collaborative on Immunization Teaching and Engagement (EXCITE), New Technologies for Ag Extension (NTAE), the Pesticide Safety Education Funds Management Program (PSEFMP). In 2022, under her leadership, the Extension Foundation served as the Technical Assistance Provider for USDA-NIFA’s Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agriculture Professionals Grant Program (NEXTGEN). Additionally, Dr. Nygren’s leadership in the Extension Foundation’s Impact Collaborative program helped create a national professional development, team development, and leadership development network for Extension Foundation members that have resulted in over $6M being awarded to program participants. 

Dr. Nyrgren became an ordained Interfaith Minister in June 2022. This experience and journey has opened up new possibilities and opportunities in her life. Dr. Nygren shared, “serving alongside this team as the CEO of the Extension Foundation has been a pleasure and a privilege. I thank the Extension Foundation team for their generosity of time and support as we’ve navigated to our current success. The Foundation is blessed with a talented, innovative, and nimble team. They will continue to advance the Foundation’s value to, and partnership with, the Cooperative Extension System.”

On behalf of the entire Extension Foundation, we wish Dr. Nygren the very best in her future endeavors and a wonderful retirement. 

Effective January 14th, 2023, the Extension Foundation Board of Directors appoints Dr. Beverly Coberly as the interim Chief Executive Officer and Mrs. Ashley Griffin as the interim Chief Operating Officer of the Extension Foundation. The Board of Directors will conduct a search for both positions in mid-2023. 

Dr. Coberly currently serves the Extension Foundation as the Chief Operating Officer since 2016. Prior to her time with the Extension Foundation, Dr. Coberly held a steady progression of administrative leadership roles in University of Missouri Extension, culminating in the position of Associate Chancellor and Associate Director. In this position she was responsible for leadership of statewide programming as well as associated budgeting, staffing, reporting and leadership development of employees. Throughout her more than 35-year career with Missouri Extension, she worked in nearly every level of Extension operations–region, state and county; on-campus and off-campus; legislators, funders and other internal and external resource partners. Dr. Coberly holds a Bachelor of Science from the College of the Ozarks, a Master of Science from University of Missouri-Columbia and completed a PhD in Architectural Studies, Human Environmental Sciences, at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

According to Dr. Coberly, “As the COO, I’ve worked closely with the Extension Foundation team and seen firsthand the growth of this organization and the impact that is being made in partnership with Cooperative Extension across the country. This coming year will be an exciting time for the Extension Foundation, and we look forward to leveraging our capacities and resources to continue to deliver on our mission to help our partners across Cooperative Extension make an impact on local issues. I look forward to serving the Extension Foundation and the Cooperative Extension System in this capacity.”

Mrs. Griffin has been part of the Extension Foundation staff since 2005, starting as a Content Design Leader for 70+ Communities of Practice and Learning Networks. In 2017, Mrs. Griffin became the Foundation’s Impact Collaborative Program Manager. As part of the New Technologies for Cooperative Extension USDA-NIFA Cooperative Agreement in partnership with Oklahoma State University, Mrs. Griffin leads the Publications and Evaluation Team for project fellows associated with the program. Prior to her time with the Extension Foundation, she gained practical Extension programming experience and delivered content through distance learning technologies as the coordinator of the Kentucky 4-H Horse Program from 1996-2002 and later served as an Extension Communications Specialist for the University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture. Mrs. Griffin has a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Sciences and her Master of Science degree in Equine Nutrition from the University of Kentucky.

According to Mrs. Griffin, “it has been a pleasure serving the Extension Foundation and Cooperative Extension for the past nearly two decades. In my time with the Extension Foundation, I’ve had the opportunity to serve in multiple operational capacities. Our staff is a mission-focused, dedicated team of professionals committed to serving our partners across the Land-grant University system. The Foundation has a bright future as we continue our work aligning with national priorities, and provide value to our clients and partners.”

Under Dr. Coberly’s and Mrs. Griffin’s leadership, the Board of Directors is confident that the Extension Foundation will continue to deliver results for the Cooperative Extension system to help make a greater impact on local issues.