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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published May 25 2010

‘I will land running’ says new NDSU President Bresciani

The 14th president of North Dakota State University says people will likely wonder if he ever sleeps.

Dean Bresciani, unanimously selected Monday afternoon by the state Board of Higher Education, said he would start working that evening, even though his start date is June 15.

“I don’t think NDSU can afford to wait for its next president to get started officially,” Bresciani said. “I will land running.”

Board members selected Bresciani, former vice president of student affairs at Texas A&M University, after interviewing three finalists Monday and deliberating in a closed-door executive session for nearly an hour.

Board member Michael Haugen of Fargo said all three finalists were qualified for the job, but Bresciani stood out to him since the initial interview with the search committee.

“He just seemed to have the drive and the history of doing what we need at this time,” Haugen said.

Bresciani, who changed into a green and gold tie prior to a press conference announcing his hire, said he has never felt more excited in his career.

“This has felt right from the moment I became aware about this opportunity,” Bresciani said. “This is the fit and the job that I’ve been preparing for my entire career.”

Bresciani said NDSU needs to re-instill people’s trust and faith in the university, and he plans to do that by being visible and transparent.

“I will be a highly visible individual,” Bresciani said. “Pick your corner of the state, because I’ll be there.”

Bresciani, who made a point to shake the student board member’s hand first, has often said that NDSU’s commitment to students is what made the job attractive.

“You don’t talk to anyone at NDSU without student focus coming up in the conversation,” Bresciani said.

Kevin Black, NDSU’s student body president, said Bresciani has the vision and the character to lead the university in a positive direction.

“Dean Bresciani is going to be a phenomenal new president for North Dakota State University,” Black said.

The other finalists for the position were John Gardner, vice president for economic development and global engagement for Washington State University, and Gary Miller, provost and vice president for academic affairs and research at Wichita (Kan.) State University.

Twenty-nine people applied for the job.

Joseph Chapman announced in October he was resigning amid controversies over the cost overruns with the president’s house and his trip to President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Chapman served until the end of November.

The board appointed Dick Hanson to lead NDSU as interim president. Hanson applied for the permanent job but was not named a semifinalist.

Hanson, who was in the meeting room when the board made its decision, received words of gratitude and a standing ovation from board members.

“We very much appreciate the work Dr. Hanson did in the interim,” said Board President Richie Smith.

Bresciani will work with Hanson during the final two weeks of June, Smith said.

Hanson will become president of Bemidji (Minn.) State University and Northwest Technical College on July 12.

Bresciani will be paid $300,000 per year, which is the same starting salary University of North Dakota President Bob Kelley received.

Chancellor Bill Goetz called it a “good day for North Dakota State University” and said he looks forward to Bresciani’s leadership. “He has impressed me from the day that I met him,” Goetz said.

Dean Bresciani

  • Age: 50

  • Current job: Adjunct professor for Texas A&M University in the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resources Development.

  • Degrees: Ph.D. in higher education finance from the University of Arizona in Tucson; master’s degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University; bachelor’s degree in sociology from Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif.

  • Background: Served as vice president for student affairs for Texas A&M from 2004-08. He worked for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1998-2004 in student services and student affairs administrative posts. He worked for the University of Nebraska at Kearney from 1992-1998 in different roles, primarily as director of residence life.

  • Family: Divorced

    If you go

  • What: Campuswide reception for Dean Bresciani

  • When: 10 a.m. today

  • Where: NDSU Memorial Union east patio. If it rains, it will be indoors in the Brostrom Lounge near the coffee shop.

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