Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Eight NDSU president candidates to interview this weekend in Fargo

Members of a North Dakota State University presidential search committee will have their first opportunity to meet the eight candidates this weekend.

Thomas Keon

Members of a North Dakota State University presidential search committee will have their first opportunity to meet the eight candidates this weekend.

The committee will interview the candidates in Fargo and decide Sunday night which candidates to invite to campus for more interviews.

Steve Swiontek, president of the search committee, anticipates the committee will narrow the list to four or five candidates.

Those candidates will spend 2 1/2 days on campus in late April and early May to meet with various groups, including public forums.

Here's a primer on the candidates the committee is considering and the times they'll be interviewed:


8 a.m. Saturday, Thomas Keon:

Keon is dean of business administration for the University of Central Florida in Orlando, a university with more than 53,000 students.

Keon, who has been dean since 1997, oversees a college with about 9,300 students, including about 1,000 graduate students.

Previously, Keon held a similar dean job at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and was associate dean at Florida Atlantic University. He also worked for the University of Missouri, Columbia.

10 a.m. Saturday, Priscilla Nelson:

Nelson is professor of civil and environmental engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, which has more than 8,800 students.

She served as the university's provost and senior vice president for academic affairs from 2005 to 2008. Nelson worked for the National Science Foundation in various roles for 11 years and was on the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin for 13 years.

12:45 p.m. Saturday, John Gardner:


Gardner is vice president for economic development and global engagement for Washington State University.

The university has 15,500 undergraduate students, 2,000 graduate students and 600 professional students.

Gardner was previously at the University of Missouri, most recently as vice president for research and economic development.

He was director of the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center from 1987 to 1996.

2:45 p.m. Saturday, Gary Miller:

Miller is provost and vice president for academic affairs and research at Wichita (Kan.) State University, a position he's held since 2006. The campus has about 11,700 undergraduate students and more than 3,000 graduate students.

Previously, Miller was dean of arts and sciences at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., and was chairman of the biology department at the University of Mississippi.

Miller has been a finalist for presidencies at Mississippi State University and Florida Atlantic University.


4:45 p.m. Saturday, Benjamin Ogles:

Ogles is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University in Athens, a position he's held since 2006.

The university has more than 32,000 students, and Ogles oversees the university's largest college with more than 5,000 students.

Ogles has worked for Ohio University since 1990 in different roles, including chairman of the psychology department. He also worked as an adjunct instructor for Indiana University-Purdue Uni-versity, Indianapolis.

10 a.m. Sunday, Dean Bresciani:

Bresciani is an adjunct professor and former vice president for student affairs for Texas A&M University.

According to news reports, Bresciani was asked to step down from his vice president position, but faculty, staff and students spoke out in support of Bresciani after his resignation.

Search consultant Garry Owens has told the search committee that Bresciani was part of a political situation at the campus that involved the termination of all of the vice presidents.


One of Bresciani's references is U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who served as Texas A&M president.

Bresciani also worked for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

12:30 p.m. Sunday, William Ruud:

Ruud is president of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, a job he's held since 2007. The campus has about 7,000 undergraduate students and 1,300 graduate students.

Ruud is a University of North Dakota alumnus who was among the top four finalists for that presidency in 1999.

Supporters tried to get Ruud to apply for the UND presidency in the search that resulted in the hiring of Robert Kelley, but Ruud did not apply because he had only recently started at Shippensburg.

Ruud was previously vice president for development/university relations for California State University, Stanislaus, and vice president for university advancement at Boise (Idaho) State University.

He also was an executive-in-residence with the Idaho governor's office for two years.


2:30 p.m. Sunday, Richard Davenport:

Davenport is president of Minnesota State University, Mankato, a position he's held since 2002.

The university has more than 13,000 undergraduate students and nearly 2,000 graduate students.

Davenport previously served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. He also was graduate school dean and associate vice president for academic affairs for Western State College of Colorado in Gunnison.

If you go

  • What: NDSU presidential search committee interviews with eight candidates
  • When: Saturday and Sunday
  • Where: Ramada Plaza Suites and Conference Center, 1635 42nd St. S., Fargo
  • Info: Interviews are open to the public.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590

What To Read Next
Get Local