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Published May 26 2010

Forum editorial: Bresciani looks to be a good fit

If enthusiasm and energy were the only requirements for president of North Dakota State University, Dean Bresciani would be highly qualified. As admirable as those qualities are, they are not enough. So, it’s clear the man who was named Monday to lead NDSU also is visionary, intelligent and experienced. His unanimous selection by the state Board of Higher Education indicates board members see in Bresciani a president whose pedigree eminently equips him to take over the helm of the state’s land-grand university and, more importantly, continue the pace of progress the campus has enjoyed for eight years.

The board’s endorsement came after a lengthy and thorough search conducted by a committee of alumni, educators and state leaders. Of the three excellent candidates referred to the board by the committee, Bresciani had the edge in part (as one board member put it) because “He just seemed to have the drive and history of doing what we need at this time.”

“… at this time.” That phrase underscores the importance of understanding where NDSU is now after nearly a decade of unprecedented growth and a focused commitment to excellence in academics, research and athletics. No matter the perceived missteps of the previous campus administration, the progress NDSU made during those years redefined the university in image and substance. Anyone who can’t see that extraordinary record likely chooses not to.

Bresciani’s higher education experience seems to be a good fit for NDSU and the education/research corridor in the Red River Valley. Furthermore, he seems nearly up to speed on the university’s reach across the state and the affection enlightened North Dakotans have for the campus that has its roots in agriculture education and research.

That being said, image is important. The new president’s role is broader than managing one of the largest enterprises in the region. The past few months have seen the school come under intense scrutiny – some of it more political and petty than constructive, and some of it justified. Among Bresciani’s immediate tasks will be to restore trust and ensure transparency as the university continues its march to world-class status. His remarks Monday suggest he’s ready to take on that challenge right away.

We welcome Bresciani to NDSU, the Fargo community and North Dakota. He’s taking over at an exciting and challenging time for higher education. He inherits a campus that is as lively and diverse as it’s ever been. He steps into an academic and research environment that routinely strives for excellence in part because of the vision of the previous administration. First impressions suggest Bresciani will make it even better.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.