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Bresciani withdraws from Ohio University presidency consideration

FARGO -- North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani has withdrawn his candidacy for the presidency of Ohio University, where he was named one of four finalists.In a campus email sent Tuesday, Feb. 7, Bresciani said he decided, in larg...

North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani delivers the State of the University address Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, in Festival Hall on the NDSU campus. Dave Wallis / The Forum
North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani delivers the State of the University address Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, in Festival Hall on the NDSU campus. Dave Wallis / The Forum
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FARGO -- North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani has withdrawn his candidacy for the presidency of Ohio University, where he was named one of four finalists.

In a campus email sent Tuesday, Feb. 7, Bresciani said he decided, in large part, to bow out because of the “support and enthusiasm” he received for his work at NDSU.

“After notifying the State Board of Higher Education members and the Chancellor, I quickly heard back from many, with messages echoing those of Chancellor Hagerott who offer ‘Appreciate that you’ve decided to stay with NDSU and look forward to continued work together to build a stronger (university system) and NDSU.’”

Bresciani added: “I believe their strong support will be critical as we move forward, and it is greatly appreciated.”

Kathryn Gordon, an associate psychology professor and president of the NDSU Faculty Senate, said most faculty members wanted Bresciani to stay, so the announcement probably is welcome news to many.

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“I think that, given that most of the campus really wants the continued leadership, it’s good for us to have that,” she said, noting the uncertainty facing NDSU over the magnitude of budget cuts. “It’s good to know that we’ll have some consistency in these times.”

Spencer Moir, NDSU student body president, said he was pleased with Bresciani’s decision.

“We are excited to hear the news that President bresciani chose to remain at NDSU,” he said. “His passion for our school and his active support of our students have made us proud in the past, we we look forward to seeing his success continue in the years to come.”

In early January, Bresciani was named one of four finalists for president of Ohio University, located in Athens, Ohio, with a reported enrollment of 40,025.

The other three finalists for the Ohio University president’s job are Duane Nellis, who served as president of Texas Tech University from June 2013 through January 2016; Robert Frank, president of the University of New Mexico since 2012 and Pam Benoit, executive vice president and provost of Ohio University since 2009.

Bresciani has been president of NDSU since 2010, when he became the university’s 14th president, at a starting annual salary of $300,000. His two-year-contract extension, signed in 2015, came with a yearly salary of $345,568.

After delaying a decision about extending his contract further, the higher education board voted 7-1 in November to extend his leadership of the university until June 30, 2018.

The delay resulted from the board’s concerns about Bresciani’s performance in the areas of teamwork and collaboration, communication, information technology and research.

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In renewing his contract, board members said he had made progress in those areas. He had received strong backing from the NDSU student and faculty senates, which passed resolutions urging that he remain president.

Bresciani wasn’t available for an interview Tuesday, but previously has said he would like to stay at NDSU, if given the opportunity.

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