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NDSU presidential decision expected Monday

The three finalists took different paths to reach the last stage of the North Dakota State University president search. But all express a common love: higher education. The state Board of Higher Education will interview the three Monday and selec...

Dean Bresciani

The three finalists took different paths to reach the last stage of the North Dakota State University president search.

But all express a common love: higher education.

The state Board of Higher Education will interview the three Monday and select a president.

The meeting starts at 10:30 a.m. in the Great Room of the NDSU Memorial Union.

Board members are scheduled to go into a closed-door executive session at 3:30 p.m. to discuss the candidates. They will come out of the executive session to make their decision in public.

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Here's a look at how the candidates made higher education their career choice.

Dean Bresciani

Bresciani, a native of Napa Valley, Calif., came from a modest agricultural background.

"All my heroes were cowboys, ranch hands and people who operated heavy equipment," Bresciani said. "My father really imagined that lifestyle for me as well."

But Bresciani decided to attend college, the first in his family to do so.

"It was magical what happened to me in college," he said. "It changed my whole world and how I see the world."

At age 21, Bresciani decided he wanted to become a university president and be part of making that college experience happen for other people.

"I very purposely decided that I wanted to be in a position where I could impact the most people in the best way," Bresciani said.

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

John Gardner

Gardner, a Missouri native, ended up with a career in higher education somewhat by accident.

"I didn't choose it; it kind of chose me," Gardner said.

He went to college with intentions of becoming a crop consultant.

But a college mentor encouraged Gardner to pursue a career in research so he could have more opportunities to be creative.

That's how Gardner ended up working for the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center.

Gardner said that's where he got his first real taste of what a higher education institution can do for a community and individuals.

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"To me, a job has got to be something that you love to do," Gardner said.

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

Gary Miller

Miller, who was among the first in his family to attend college, planned on becoming a businessman or a doctor.

But the Virginia native had what he calls a "transformational experience" in college.

"What I discovered there was so much about myself and so much about the world," Miller said, "and there were so many other students I was in class with who I could also see were transformed."

That led Miller to pursue higher education as a career.

"Based on my own transformational experience and the joy I found in research and teaching, it just seemed to come natural," Miller said.

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As he's moved up in the administrative ranks, Miller said he's tried to look at his experiences and how he could make a contribution.

Miller is provost and vice president for academic affairs and research at Wichita (Kan.) State University.

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

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