Andrew Armacost, final UND presidential candidate, visits campus

Andrew Armacost, candidate for UND president, speaks during a faculty forum on Wednesday, Nov. 20. (Sydney Mook / Grand Forks Herald)

GRAND FORKS — Andrew Armacost, the sixth and final UND presidential candidate to visit campus, comes with an Air Force background. But he says he wants to be known as more than just a military man.

Armacost recently completed his service as dean of the faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy. With more than 30 years on active duty and 20 years at the Academy, Armacost served in the rank of brigadier general as the chief academic officer for the institution. His role was similar to that of a provost.

Coming from the military, Armacost has a unique background in comparison to the other candidates. However, Armacost says “embedded within that unique experience are attributes and experiences” that “translate across institutions.”

“I think that the uniqueness of the Air Force Academy, relative to the other candidates, is that I wore a military uniform, an Air Force uniform, proudly for 30 years,” Armacost told the Herald. “But I think what translates is the sense of purpose, the sense of commitment to key core values and this idea of building relationships and really leading an organization through establishing a vision and then moving toward that vision.”


Armacost said UND is “an amazing place with people who have a great spirit,” but the school also plays a role in the state and nation.

“The programs that are offered here are remarkable,” he said. “I would be proud to be associated with the University of North Dakota as its president. I know that the spirit of innovation is alive and well as the university has received top rankings from national magazines about the innovation that it offers within its programs. This is an exciting place with a bright future.”

During the faculty forum, Armacost was asked about diversity of thought and the role of liberal arts at a public university like UND.

Armacost noted that the Air Force Academy is considered a liberal arts institution, with other aspects folded in. He said there is a myth that nearly all of the students at the Air Force Academy have received perfect scores on their ACT tests, making acceptance hypercompetitive. While it is competitive to get in, Armacost said the “breadth” of student experience when it comes to academics is wide. He said he has had experience focusing on ways to grow student success and ensuring students are prepared to lead.

Armacost is the final candidate to meet with the UND community. He will meet with staff, students and community members on Thursday. His schedule is as follows:

  • Staff forum: 9 to 10:15 a.m. Room 7, Education Building

  • Student forum: noon to 1:15 p.m. 114 Witmer Hall

  • Campus and community forum: 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Discovery Room, EERC. A meet-and-greet social will follow.

Friday, the UND search committee will convene. The group is expected to select three unranked finalists to forward to the State Board of Higher Education.
The State Board of Higher Education will meet on Dec. 3, on the UND campus. The three finalists will then interview with the board in a public session before the next president is chosen.

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