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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published May 26 2010

‘Dr. B’ was well-known on Texas A&M campus

More than a year after he stepped down as vice president for student affairs at Texas A&M University, Dean Bresciani still has people yell “Howdy, Dr. B!” when they see him on campus.

Other than the president, Bresciani was the most visible administrator to the university’s faculty, staff and 48,000 students.

On Monday, minutes after he learned he was named North Dakota State University president, his phone lit up from Texas supporters who were following the news and were eager to congratulate him.

“That says to me that the reputation I wanted to have and the relationship I wanted to have with my campus community was in fact what was going on,” Bresciani said. “That’s what I would intend to bring to NDSU.”

More than 200 NDSU faculty, staff and students lined up Tuesday to greet Bresciani, perhaps not with a “howdy,” but at least a handshake.

“He’s the right choice for the right time,” said Prakash Mathew, vice president for student affairs.

Former students and colleagues from Texas A&M said they’re sad to see Bresciani go, but he’s well suited to lead NDSU.

“You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who will work as hard to learn the place, learn the culture, and really represent the school well and hopefully get it the kind of visibility that it needs and wants,” said Carol Binzer, who was director of student life under Bresciani.

Frank Barat, a former Texas A&M student leader, said Bresciani was the most approachable and enthusiastic administrator.

Bresciani, who told students to call him Dr. B, hosted weekly dinners at his house for student groups and often attended student events, Barat said.

Bresciani becomes NDSU president June 15, but he’s already started working. On Tuesday, he discussed NDSU’s budget and other issues with interim President Dick Hanson.

Some who submitted feedback on Bresciani after he first visited NDSU had concerns that he lacked experience in academic affairs.

But Martha Loudder, associate dean for the Mays Business School at Texas A&M, said Bresciani is as concerned with academics as he is with student affairs.

As vice president, he established a 20-member faculty advisory council, Loudder said.

Bresciani also made changes to bring the academic affairs and student affairs divisions closer together, she said.

“He understood that the faculty and the student affairs people have to work together,” Loudder said.

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