GRAND FORKS — The names of two candidates to serve as interim president of the University of North Dakota have emerged.

Joshua Wynne, dean of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and Dennis Elbert, longtime business school dean, are the finalists for the UND interim president position, State Board of Higher Education Chair Don Morton confirmed Wednesday, May 29.

Dean of UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Dean of UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Wynne and Elbert both are listed on an updated agenda for the board's regular meeting that will be held Thursday morning in Bismarck.

Wynne has been dean of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences since 2010. Before becoming permanent dean, Wynne served as interim dean beginning in early 2009. He has been with UND since 2004.

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Dennis Elbert
Dennis Elbert

Wednesday afternoon, Wynne said he had been approached about the job by board members. He said he would be willing to take the position, if offered, under the condition that he keep his duties as medical school dean and vice president.

Elbert was appointed dean of the UND College of Business and Public Administration in July 1997 and served through May 2014 before returning to a faculty position. He retired in 2017. At present, he serves on the board of the United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Area.

Elbert was under consideration for the interim presidency in late 2015 when former Gov. Ed Schafer was eventually appointed to the post. He also was a candidate for UND president in 2007.

UND President Mark Kennedy will be leaving UND on June 15 after nearly three years at the university. On July 1, he will become president of the University of Colorado system, where he will oversee four campuses. Meloney Linder, vice president for marketing and communications at UND, said Kennedy’s last day in office likely will be June 7, though that day could change depending on the schedule of the interim president.

When the board makes a decision on an interim president, it will begin a contract negotiation process, according to an SBHE agenda. Former Gov. Ed Schafer earned $33,216 a month as interim president at UND from Jan. 15-June 30, 2016. That contract also included sick leave, retirement plan contributions and other benefits.