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NDSU presidential candidate visits announced

Hopefuls will come to campus starting Monday, Jan. 24.

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FARGO — North Dakota State University has announced when candidates for the presidential search will visit campus.

Five candidates will come to NDSU starting Monday, Jan. 24. Each candidate will come to the campus for three days.

They will participate in hour-long open forums starting at 10:30 a.m. on the last day they are on campus, as well as half-hour meet and greets at 11:30 a.m. the same day. The open forums will take place at the Memorial Union in Ballroom A, but also will be streamed on Zoom. Those forums will be available at

Then the search committee will interview the candidates before sending its recommendations to the State Board of Higher Education, which will interview at least three finalists during its Feb. 23 meeting.

That’s when the board is expected to pick the next NDSU leader who will replace President Dean Bresciani in June.


The North Dakota University System announced Tuesday that it had narrowed down a pool of 47 applicants to:

  • David Cook, vice chancellor of public affairs and economic development for the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He will visit Jan. 24-26. 
  • Debra Larson, provost and vice president of academic affairs at California State University in Chico. Jan. 25-27.
  • Michael Tidwell, immediate past president for the University of Texas in Tyler. Jan. 26-Jan. 28.
  • Hesham El-Rewini, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Marymount University in Washington, D.C., and University of North Dakota former senior vice provost and engineering dean. Jan. 31-Feb. 2. 
  • Mary Holz-Clause, chancellor for the University of Minnesota Crookston and acting executive chancellor for the UMN Crookston and Morris campuses. Feb. 1-3.

The candidates will meet with students, faculty, staff, alumni and community leaders, as well as have media interviews.
It’s unclear when the search committee will interview candidates, though those are expected to happen behind closed doors since they have not been designated finalists. North Dakota law prohibits government agencies from releasing records on the candidates until finalists are named, so committee interviews can be held in executive session.

The Forum reached out to the candidates. Some did not return messages. Two declined to comment ahead of their visits, saying they were told to forward all questions to the search committee.

Since the candidates are not finalists, the North Dakota University System said it would not to make candidates available for a phone interview ahead of the campus visits, and it declined to forward questions from The Forum to the presidential prospects.

The newspaper informed the university system it had intended to ask candidates why they applied, what they felt they could contribute to NDSU if hired as the next president and their thoughts on being chosen for campus visits.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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